The Ballerina

Sinuous arms carve air,

thick with dust unsettled by her feet

tracing circles over circles on

dull cobalt tile.

She is becoming lighter,

light enough

to fly

to float like the particles of dust

caught in suspension

as the sun outside sinks

and casts speckled shadows onto her face.


The room undulates in lurching

freeze frames of yellow and amber,

spinning faster

cutting sharper

until the fragile fabric of perception


and every pore of her skin

vibrates in sync with the frequency

of a billion luxated atoms.


A moment of awareness—

the sheer speed

the furious power,

rapidly escaping her control.

Colors blur and bleed

into her peripherals,

confusing the senses.

A moment of hesitation—


A tangle of limbs,

rippling with the aftershock of flight,

collapses in a heap of golden, pulsing flesh,

supple from the vertigo of inertia.

Even in rest

her body is movement,

the air buzzing with static

from the heavy friction

of nylon and tulle.

The blue tile is ice

against her fevered skin

and she sighs into its comfort,

the only constant in a room still spinning.


2 Comments so far

  1.   gkphalen on February 26th, 2013

    I would suggest placing a comma after “to fly,” or perhaps even a period, making “to float like the particles of dust” a new sentence. “Freeze frames of yellow and amber” is an excellent image, one that accurately and compellingly captures the images one sees when moving quickly. This is continued with the line “until the fragile fabric of perception/unravels,” though I think there’s a better word than “billion” in the stanza’s final line. It seems too exact a number for a line where you seem to be trying to convey an element of things being countless. “Vertigo of inertia” is another excellent line; vertigo is a sensation more readily associated with the danger of heights, so to associate it with something drab and benign like “inertia” shows what an odd state this is for her, emphasizing and solidifying her need for movement. The final line sums things up well, providing a literal depiction of her feeling disoriented after dancing, again tying into the figurative notion of her feeling incomplete when not dancing. Overall, this is a very strong description of both the physical sensation of movement and the necessity of this movement for a ballerina, and the way they tie together for your main character.

  2.   Lets Get Fictional on February 26th, 2013

    There is a lot of beautful imagery in this poem.
    For example, the line: “Sinuous arms carve air,” paints an incredible picture and sets the tone perfectly.
    I found the line, “vertigo of inertia” a little contradictory and slightly confusing, but that was clearly a conscious choice from the poet, so I wouldn’t necessarily change it. I just think it was a difference of preference.
    I might suggest you don’t have “unravels” on its own line because it kind of disrupts the flow of the poem.