The Student Literary Journal of Vermont State University

Cat Dixon

Poetry, Spring 2023

Don’t Stop Dancing | Buried Alive

Don’t Stop Dancing

The music isn’t to your taste, but you’re a good sport—
a twirl, a smile, a bouncy sway, back and forth. There’s
no DJ tonight. The playlist spins without taking requests.
Everyone must accept what’s given—not throw a fit.
Isn’t that what your mother used to say when you
sulked at the dinner table with an uneaten bowl of peas?
Hours ticked down with the tired grandfather clock
and your legs and butt grew sandy, locked with sleep.
As your contrary nature flourished despite her
nagging and the ache of hunger, you learned to 
dance to any beat. There are no hourglasses here to
keep track of mealtimes, timeouts, tirades. There
are no mothers here—only the deep bass bumping/
reverberating the smack of belt/spatula/mop. The 
evening washes down the drain easily. You
never stop grinding on that slippery tabletop.  

Buried Alive

We set each other on fire
for warmth, for light in
this delicate tunnel. Even
when we were aboveground,
the rations were never enough,
having to parcel out food
and water. The slightest
provocation crushes our hands
and relinquishes any control
we thought we had. We set
each other on fire to feed
the flames, to obey
the ravenous pit—we reaped
none of the benefits. The best
we can ever hope is to be
twin blazing flames tangoing
in the underground cave, licking
the cavities of our buried love.
We set each other on fire
for warmth, for light. In this
place the only law is flame.

Cat Dixon (she/her) is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review and the author of six poetry collections and chapbooks. She teaches part-time at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.