after Kathryn Cowles’ poem “Covers”

I learn to salsa so I can dance with the fancy boys. Roberto: turquoise shirt buttoned past his breast bone. Wayne: satin-backed vest, black shiny shoes. Danny: Panama hat (in landlocked Colorado). I salsa to surrender. To the dance. In the kitchen, the bathroom, bare feet counting 1-2-3, 5-6-7, I follow the stove, the sink (trusty sluggish leads). I salsa in my sleep with Oscar D’León, sometimes Willie Colón, but mostly Oscar D’León. I learn to salsa from “El Cubanito”—the little Cuban boy—though he comes from Teaneck, New Jersey. Eric’s fancy in his stonewash jeans: el cubanito de fantasía. Funny how the same word means multiple things: Fancy. Salsa. Close. Close your eyes, he says, to feel, not think, to stay half a second behind as his hand comes down from high holy heaven to seize my wrist. Everything inside says, This.