Why We Dance: Poetry by Terry M. Dugan

Why We Dance

Because we do the electric slide into the clinic to the tune of crying babies.

Because every day we fox trot in and out of intensive care.

Because we breakdance after rounds while waiting for lab reports.

Because we waltz into patients’ rooms waving their sheet music.

Because we’re sick of doing the hokey pokey with hospital administrators.

Because we tell strangers what we do and they shimmy away from us.

Because we square dance while death calls out partner changes.




—Terry M. Dugan

Terry M. Dugan worked as a researcher at the pediatric AIDS clinic at Bellevue Hospital in the 1980s and continued to work on HIV/AIDS research at other sites until funding became scarce. She has won awards for poetry and fiction examining the lives of people with HIV/AIDS and those who care for them. She has lectured on human rights and AIDS in Africa at Oxford and was invited to read her poetry at the United Nations. She is currently completing an MFA at Manhattanville College.

First appeared in the July 2013 issue