by S. Bennet

In ballet class on Wednesday
we wondered about Dame Groltz’ sin;
whether it involved her wide buttocks or
ropy-fingered hands…

When the confessional door clicked shut,
you could only hear breathing and see feet
underneath—poor clues.

Maggie and I whispered
the glorious possibilities:
ménages-a-trois with gardeners,
a young boy held prisoner and forced upon—
a boy with blond hair and green eyes, a virgin…

The forehead evidence,
a blackened mark,
a loopy cross
confirmed in the mirror.

Practicing at the barre,
positions des bras, exercises des jambes,
inclined chests and sweeping kicks—
to be felt in the fanny,
as we were told.

We leg-lifted and demi-pliéd,

pointed, stretched, made rond de jambe;
under the sign of repentance
on such a fleshy face.

Maggie giggled in second position
and then she grit her teeth—
Dame Groltz appeared so suddenly,
so utterly she loomed

To strike poor Maggie
upon her derrière.

Then just as quick as in Mother Goose,
she grasped Maggie round the waist;
pulled her close, so bosom close
and kissed her girlish face.

I concentrated on my motions,
on tous les attitudes;

fingers arched and heel-to-toe,
gazing not at Groltz’ mark.

The mirror bore true witness
to the moisture on her brow,
the dripping of Lenten ashes,
the crimson of guilted lips.

S. Bennett studied Classical Ballet in California and Connecticut, and studied Creative Writing at Columbia University and U.S.C. Other poems from Antonia’s Arabesque are upcoming in Wisconsin Review and Oxford Magazine.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Barre

  1. Very fine piece. Great exposure of a niche field. Well doen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s