heel hits
swirling toe
on tarnished floorboards
beneath me

up, up, up
farther still
“then down, as
quickly as you rose, dear”

i spin,
trembling into a
tattered stumble
twisting to an
ugly form

fingers point
in five directions
"make your hands pretty,"
my mother says

but i never was pretty
no, none of me.
the taut laces bind my

i must learn to breathe.

there is no beauty
here at all
it must be
plain to see for everyone

there is one
protruding belly
snugly fit into
lengths of purple velvet


turn to the left and lean back,
then snap up
and show me some attitude.

i always do just as i'm told;
raise an eyebrow to the
audience that isn’'t there.


that's all that i do
all that i do
all that i do

my arms lift
and i raise my head

ready to leap
to the beat
pounding inside of me