Demon #1

Demon #1

 

Like the very smallest reindeer

I tied bronze bells on my ankles.

 

The jagged edges ripped a little

my skin, the cloth ties slipped

 

Around the softer veined bones

of a child’s bulbous talus.

 

The bells hung with a weight of

responsibility like metal fruits.

 

Feet splayed, bent like a widow

I hear my human drum machine:

 

                        Dha dhin ha,

                                    Na tin na.

 

Bharat, why have you claimed

this dance as your own?

           

Some years later after moving to

an American suburb, my mother

 

(hating her breasts, wishing, I think

to cut a slender Pavlovan shape)

 

found a ballerina with axe blade

shoulders, backbones like bullets

 

And in a mirrored room with pink

stretch fabric, I found gracelessness.

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