“Andropov’s Dance” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

The river of silence passes through the large classroom trough, its charcoal sides soft and cool to the touch.

Andropov is invited to exercise first, which they all do silently at first, some of them in their uniforms and some not.

Andropov flexes his feet and claps slowly. In each of their places the children move their bodies according to their interior voice.

Then the professor also begins his exercise, and a sound comes out of his mouth like a low hum. But there is something involuntary about it, like possession.

But the silence is calming and the recess period, even if painful, is purgative, and the boys welcome its paces, the way a priest welcomes the movement of a censer.

One of the boys, who has no arms and only one leg, performs one of the tricks for which he is famous among the boys, twisting his body into a lithe duck-like form, with which he thrashes against the ground. One of the other boys scolds him, gently, and after a moment he stops.

Inside the professor something is growing. And in the boys too. The final towards which they are all working, that transformation, is now only incidental to their work. They stand in silence for a moment, the light from their bulbs warm.

Andropov brings the professor his glasses and the lesson continues.

Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. You can read more of his work at www.robindunn.com.

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