The human foot contains twenty-six bones
for running and dancing and spinning
pirouettes in neat circles,
balanced on one foot before two,
starved for attention with every broken
"Ballet is more than dancing,
Grace," the en pointe trainer balanced
on one foot and named every bone
supporting her weight.
Grace spins one
circle on the hardwood floor:
her eyes land on the barre mirror.
She doesn't see the atrophied bone
ribs through pink gauze,
but only imagines herself as beautiful.
Weeks of anorexic binging display the remains
of weak structure.
One more skin-and-bone
cygnet remained an ugly duckling
as the starved light of dawn danced across the sky
on bleach bone toes.
The empty theater seats fill up
while en pointe sylphs
count their ribs backstage
at the memorial performance
where grace fluttered,