In the poem “Slow dance,” by Cherrie Moraga, the reader is met with a scene involving three women on a dance floor. Moraga, throughout the poem, uses language that suggests that she has been longing for the attention of a woman, however, has been forced to observe from the outside in as these women are not interested. Throughout the poem Moraga italicizes certain thoughts that highlight her desires and how she feels about them, including strong repetition of the words “want” and “that she can handle them” (Moraga 25). The repetition and italicization of these words and phrases places an emphasis on them that could have ambiguous meanings, however, I believe that Moraga is attempting to convey to these phrases and words bring up extremely intense emotion for Moraga.
Moraga, as much of the LGBT+ community, likely experienced having to hide her own sexuality throughout her childhood and adulthood. This concealment makes it extremely difficult to date, often building up frustration and longing for emotional or physical connection within the person. This situation is all too familiar to much of the LGBT+ community, as many queer individuals also are forced to stay closeted for their own protection from their parents, friends, or community in general. This often can make one feel completely isolated and makes it incredibly difficult to find a partner. Moraga, throughout the poem, does an excellent job of conveying the intense desire caused by this concealment. The poem finishes with the powerful line, “I am used to imagining what it’s like.” This constant state of desire and imagining unfortunately plagues the LGBT+ community today, and Moraga conveys that using intense language and repetition of intense language.