A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Michael Cantor

New York-born, and a former business executive, Cantor has lived and worked in Japan, Europe and Latin America and now resides on Plum Island, north of Boston on the Massachusetts coast.

His poetry has appeared in Measure, The Formalist, The Dark Horse, The Comstock Review (Pushcart nomination), The Atlanta Review, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won the New England Poetry Club Gretchen Warren Award.

A chapbook, The Performer, is available from Pudding House Press.

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Slow Rondeau

A slow rondeau is an erotic way
for dancers to portray the interplay
of lovers who, in love with vertigo,
surround each other in the ebb and flow
of steps that lead them to a white bouquet.

In time, he winces when he hears her bray,
and she’s convinced she’s wed a popinjay—
the metaphor’s no longer apropos:
a slow rondeau

becomes a tight and vicious rondelet
of lacerating phrases that betray
the dancers and their dance—but even so—
though lovers sometimes stumble they still know
to fake the turns that honor and obey
a slow rondeau.



This is the calm that calms the fools,
the quiet eye that does not blink,
the blade set bare before the storm.

This is the famous hall of sighs
where whispers cling to walls and run
the circle of the sweating stone.

This is the cancer, hiding from light;
the dead still sea, the silent wind;
this is the calm that melts your bones.

Here now the idols carved into rock,
churches and graveyards, blisters on skin,
ice-covered beaches pale in the moon.

This is the prologue; here now the beast.