Madison Hunt

“As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.”
II Samuel 6:16

My father disapproved of dancing.
I learned this when I was twelve,
my feet pattering on polished limestone,
a pulsing rhythm
like the music I had heard since childhood.
The drums, I learned in the years to come,
symbolized war.
Death. Warning. Prayers of victory.

None of that mattered to me then,
only the strength of the young man holding my hand.
Again! Spin me again!
My brother, already a warrior,
already admired by women of Gibeah,
takes my hands and we twirl.
Wheat of the same stalk, weightless in the wind.
Of all women in the palace, I admired him most.

My feet touch the ground again
and I see almost fear in his eyes.
Defeating countless enemies in fields of battle,
his most powerful enemy ruled over our home.
We were caught. I was ashamed.

Our father lifted his hand, signaling the end to our dance,
asserting rule under his roof.
Though he had never struck me,
I felt a sting against my sun darkened cheek.
In that moment, I almost wish he had.
Kings do not dance.
Weak men allow women to lead them astray.
Such men do not deserve a kingdom.
I watched my brother’s back turn
against my father, as it would remain for years to come.

I look at you dancing before the Lord.
Something akin to hatred whirls within me
mimicking your movements in the street.

How glorious you are, exposing
indecency for all to see.

How can you dance when my brother cannot?
Kings do not dance.
You? You wish to make music to the Lord?
Oh, the drums. The victory drums allow
only death to ring in my ears.