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by Audrey Rose


Variations on the Electric Slide


The artist, her body a statue

of wet clay in the small gray room,


said boxes w/ light & everyone

nodded & scribbled & nodded again,


but I heard lightbox I heard father

heard cancer heard mother repeat


his doctor back to me: It’s in his eyes

& if it’s in his eyes, it’s in his brain


& if it’s in his brain, it’s in his spine

& in his blood & everywhere—


& everywhere, all at once, my father

entered the room. The light bulb


flashed the thin white palm

of its incandescent hand as he


waved hello—yes light is a particle

& a wave that my father uses


to wave hello or make a song

of his hands & flip me the bird


when I talk trash about him. No, he

wasn’t skinny but he shimmy-flickered


himself electric & slid through the slender

vein of wires from one bulb to another—


you can’t see it, you gotta feel it—

a silly jig he did behind the artist


as she went on to say something

important about life & art & signs


& that once you start noticing them

you’ll find them all at once, everywhere.



Audrey Rose earned her BA in Mathematics and completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of South Florida. She served as an art and poetry editor for Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art, and she has guest lectured at USF. More of her work can be found in SLABSweet LitArts Coast, and Halfway Down the Stairs. "Variations on the Electric Slide” is an ekphrastic poem written after “Notations in Passing” in 2023, an art installation made of plywood, light bulbs, ceramic bases, and timers by Alicia Watkinson. Line twenty-three is an excerpt from “Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide)” by Marcia Griffiths. 



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