pink satin masks
blood and broken toes.
i keep effortless poise
while knees and lungs shake.
i dance in tattered tutus,
in old toe shoes,
for a pocketful of coins;
i dance until i am blind with joy,
until my lungs are full of trumpet shouts,
until i am exhausted and weightless,
until my audience is standing,
breath gone, knowing what it is to be--
in the storm of applause
one gnarled hand launches a torch.
"you danced with me," i cry--
her lips seal shut.
wild, cold eyes watch
flames singe my feathers,
fuse flesh to bone,
she stays until she hears
my heart stop.
the stage is ash.
a chorus of mouths emerge from the ground,
my audience, full-throated, white-knuckled,
tchaikovsky hollowing cheeks,
the arsonist stands--
and i ascend from the dirt
on pillars of diamond forged from ash,
while my bare feet spill blood and i say
look at the source of my strength--
while new wings spread,
blood-red and gilded and brilliant in the sun--
while fire sprouts like flowers from my palms,
while spiders wrap my toes in silk
and i dance on thick-tongued harmonies
that tremble the earth with new roots
and i bourrée across the green trunks
and i become the sun
"nasoprotivnyia daruia" -- "from all evil deliver them." It's a line from the choral version of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, which is a song that means the world to me <3