Poetry Parnassus: Your dance is like a cure (Jamaica)

Poetry Parnassus is a project of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, hosted at the Southbank Centre in London. It ran from June 26 to July 1, featuring 145 poets from around the world. Here is the Guardian’s interactive map, where you can click on a country and read its poem. I will be posting them on a semi-regular basis until they’re done.

Your dance is like a cure, by Kei Miller (Jamaica)

In this country on a Saturday night
you are usually the best dancer;
it was not so back home.
Here you can dance
dances that have fallen out
of season, like mangoes in February
or guineps at Christmas. It does not matter
in this new country;
they do not know Spanish Town Road,
have never danced into the headglights
of early morning buses… though,
neither have you; you were never skilled
enough back there. You never entered
the middle circle – like a Holy of Holies –
where only good dancers dared venture.
But in this country, you move like fire
amongst the cane, you move like sugar
and like ocean; they say – you are the sharp
swing of a cutlass, they say –
you are like ointment in a deep wound.
They say your dance is like a cure.

• ‘Your dance is like a cure’ from There Is an Anger that Moves (Carcanet Press, 2007).