En Pointe

I remember

the feeling of sheer joy and

the shining elastic triumph

that came

with the unthinking ease of my body’s movement

hand lightly, lightly, on the barre

my bones muscles tendons joints and – oh

my skin

Shining with the stretch and the sweat

celebrating a bacchanalia of its own synergy

each mechanism ticking with precision

each flexing fouetté a measure of my ability

to simply shine.

Each ronde de jambe

a rubber-band of arrogance and ambition

as I tirelessly watched my own reflection

down a myriad corridors of mirrored glamour

as I heartlessly dismissed those who snapped

who fell

who faltered

who were weak.

Now my own physical substance has dried to powder

any attempted plié palpably stiffened in elegance and bend

and my wondrously sinuous rubber-band like fluidity?

Reduced to the dry, impossible hardness

of a not yet cut and blooded toe-shoe.

I find myself saying

(if only inside my head):

To all you new mistresses of ambitious scorn

which is yours by rite

and talent – I know

Binding your hair with rubber-bands

as you bind your feet with bandaids and satin

Be kinder in your snapback and arrogance

To those less gifted than yourselves

Or end like me

crumbling without use or purpose

and with nothing left

but memories of jeté after jeté

and too late an understanding


my mental lack of grace.