To dance the Nezabravka Tango

To dance the Nezabravka Tango

(for Ekaterina Dimcheva)

You will need a room into which autumn has been invited to stay
A balcony freighted with apples and walnuts
Oak trees and a footpath between them
Two daughters, at least one of which is named after an assembly of trees

A bright three-quarters moon has to wax full and coppery:
this takes one week and one day

To dance the Nezabravka Tango
You will need a new city, with a street called ‘Graf Ignatiev’
A new alphabet
A book of pictures
A book of poems
A square of bookstalls at each one of which you may ask for a dictionary
which does not exist
Two glasses of rakia
Peacock feathers spread across a table: iridescent, iridescent
Two handfuls of sea-shells
And a few grains of South Beach, Miami

To dance the Nezabravka Tango
You will need a good friend
A railway-track at the end of a street
As many churches as you like, but at least one must be underground
and filled with the light of gently-fizzing candles
Two comedies of not-meeting, one of them in the rain
One opera-house, complete with colonnade and multiplying mirrors
and an opera by Rossini
Several very amorous tram-rides
Jazz in a smoky bar

To dance the Nezabravka Tango
You must drive through mountains
between combed fields of ochre and amber
For preference, you should have a town built upon three hills
with an amphitheatre
two vegetable-markets because you like peppers and aubergines
and stalls laden with honey
A tin of apple-cake
The side of a mountain
A forest of beech-trees with phosphorescent blue bark and polished leaves
A bag of chestnuts
A cup of boza
A pair of quinces

You will need –
To dance the Nezabravka Tango
You will need the woman
Without her
Without the woman in the red blouse
You cannot dance the Nezabravka Tango