In the end it takes a phenomenal level of balance
to accomplish this feat, less Angelic
nature than fiercely focused
rage. The toes must be shrunk to infinitesimal
blades, beams of cold light sur les pointes on that tiny,
round stage. Pain is a bright green bird snapping
its beak against a tight steel cage, a dream condensed
into a flaming ball no larger than a spool of scarlet
thread. The legs too must suffer and yet be wise,
muscle and bone merging around the fulcrum
of the dance, spin and leap until music becomes a hot
wave and the ears go still. Then the mind sleeps.
Bodies rise as mist and flame and scented air turns cool,
then cold and a newborn moon races toward the sky
to take its appointed place beneath the shuddering stars.