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          Winged horse, strike stars

(My photo of the Rouillard bronze in Paris.

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Fourteen-Year Old Dancer, by Edgar Degas

Her toes turned just

so, her shoulder back,

gazing upward with her hair tied behind

with a satin ribbon.

Her tulle skirt is stiff,

age-yellow, and her bronze

limbs are slathered with strokes

and imperfection that make

it unmistakable: she is art.

Her skirt has stiffened,

and her ribbon has been

retied, but she is poised, complete.

She is the student who never

laughs at the distracting

joke, the mistress

of her vigil. Her skin

is rough with the forces

that shaped her, the hands,

the steel tools, and that other force,

this one, this day after day.

She looks upward. She does not think:

soon. She does not

shift, impatient. She knows.

And we who know nothing gaze

upon her faith, her

unliving patience, her

silence without end,

and see that what we have lost

is our power to believe,

and what we have kept is our unease,

our sorrow, the music

only we can hear.

This is a new version of the poem that appeared in The Cities We Will Never See. (Singular Speech Press)






I was not there

when you saw me. 


Photo collage of Michael Cadnum, August, 2014, by Sherina Cadnum





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