Rhian Gallagher



He swept her out in a glide and she
in the press, riding his step.
They’d met in a country hall:
men on one side, women on the other,
the sexes divided into teams.
Shy, suddenly freed by the floor
as if out of range of some patrolling gaze
back in the beginning of ‘together’,
how else did they get their hands on each other?
In a waltz the gap between bodies closed
to embrace and embrace.
Suited and booted and dressed to the nines
their first flame still had a hum.
No longer my parents,
some baggage of years had undone
to see them at a distance, to see them as young.



Rhian Gallagher’s first collection was published in 2003 (Enitharmon Press, UK) and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for First Collection. Of ‘Waltz’ Gallagher writes: “The waltz lends itself to a to and fro across time. The form of the poem, to some degree, has been shaped by the movement of the waltz.”