Danseuse ajustant sa bretelle, 1895-96, Edgar Degas
The Ballerina's Private Warm Up
She feels the constriction
of a cocoon and the solitude-
therein lies the crystalline craving
to spin herself free.
A twirl to unwind- to whip-up
the motion to unclog the black and white
all around her- she wishes for wind
she wishes for a spin-off of gale force
to extricate her from this morose.
She rises on her toes - shaky first
then in a solid stance her arms rise
overhead with poise a momentary pause.
There is no music, except that alone
in her head- the composition
comes with spontaneity
Is a powerful turn
she thrusts herself into a running leap,
long legs scissor in defiance of gravity
then another, and a third
with a solid land- quickly
rising again to a pointe
she spins again
shaking free of the grayness
her heart pounding
her chest heaves
as she drops down
arms collapse to the floor
head bowing supplication...
Michael A. Wells