by Nicole Asselin
This poem first appeared in Curry Arts Journal 2002.
Rows of sleepy-faced girls file in
through the door like columns of pink
and black ants, their new pink ballet shoes
squeaking on the polished hardwood floors as
they line up at the barre.
The barre is cold and shocks their
warm inviting hands.
“Bend and stretch
plie and releve,”
the teacher calls out while the piano
plays a soft, lilting melody
punctuating each precise movement
of the bending legs.
The mirrors glint in
the morning sun
that’s streaming through
the windows as the
dancers twist and turn
through the sunbeams
like flowers swaying in the breeze.
Hour after hour,
day after day, week after week,
the rhythm and the practice
of “plie, releve”
are the heart
home away from home,