All My Ballet Teachers Belied

They said you had to dig harder,
longer. Rummage in the rough
of the clouds until you grasped air.
Fall asleep digging, wake up
digging. They said it was blood-toil.

They didn’t really know
it could come alive, spin
you round yourself.

Whir from the mist with you in its weave.


La Danse meets me in an empty parking garage
—huge space, penultimate story—and says, Turn.
The day is clear on either side of the partial concrete
walls. I lunge loosely into fourth, like Nureyev
rehearsing Bayadère, torque hard, then turn. A human
top. With one arm, I could casually skim the ceiling, while
the other sails freely, exactly the way they said turning
couldn’t. The square inch of satin bearing my weight
bores into the concrete, revolution after revolution.

I wake up knowing they have turned from me,
and that I must rotate around the axis of myself. I will
revolve until the satin frays, until the shanks
of both shoes snap and the vamps give way.

Until grit dares a dance in illusion’s slippers