by B. Lynne Zika
From the left wing, a girl in tulle
slips her hand through a river of burgundy velvet,
inching a sliver of audience into sight.
Behind her, the disasters of runs and fraying ribbons
fall under the power of frosted nail polish
and quick-drying glue. A cellist calls for water.
The third swan fells a basket of rose petals.
A horsey brunette fondles the mike.
While she gives thanks for the patrons, the generous hall,
the rustling black silk of the string quartet,
a dozen wood-tipped slippers arrange themselves,
solemn as a bridal party waiting for the prelude to subside.
The girl in tulle lifts her chin toward her left shoulder.
Her arms float behind.
This is the day childhood falls away from her.
Legs too thin in saddle oxfords stretch and curve
in the arc of a bowing reed.
With one twist, a lank ponytail is transfigured to a smooth chignon.
A violin lifts the curtain.
She lifts to toe.
Under her heel, a dozen taunts
from boys in white T-shirts and overdyed jeans
crumble, then blow away.
Now she is ready.
Now the dance begins.
* * * * *
"Recital" was first published in Habitat for Humanity Anthology (Sept./Oct. 1999)
B. Lynne Zika’s poetry and essays have appeared online and in literary and consumer publications, including globalpoemic, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene, Poetry East, ONTHEBUS, and The Anthology of American Poets. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. She received a Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction. Her photography has received several awards, including the 2020 Top Creator Award from Viewbug. Her images may be viewed at https://artsawry.com/.
Wednesday, 28 July 2021