From Dream to Dream

I believe I see down the aisle someone who dreams, 

by the black tights and leg warmers, of colossal success,

the type that comes from learning not to fall flat on your face,

no constant pirouette corkscrews of dying swans gone smack into the parquet,

down to where it’s more and more realized useless kicking and cursing,

down there on the floor, the hint of career mortality in the air,

somewhere up ahead if nothing else age gets in a dancer’s way,

and then I see by the crutch she carries, for now she simply muses

at the neon sign words that blink at us passing poetry,

words strung together in random fashion like how life happens,

patches of a brilliant rhyme scheme or pulsing cadence flashing by,

she sitting slumped at a crossroads in the back seat, earbuds shimmering white,

I hear faintly, as she takes one off to say yes, the seat next to her is empty,

a husky voice tuned rugged husky like Lightfoot, by alcohol and cigarettes,

and I think she should be no more thinned down,

no more self-starved to some reedy wind-blown stick,

going sick to the bare quick core, no more, now

she of the head against the glass, eyes looking through it

at the world whizzing by outside, a passive observer

taking a break from everything, no longer participating in the rush,

because, she tells me, a twisted ankle forced too much time off from practice,

which was not so bad, but the presumed sprain became,

suspicious due to continuing pain, a broken ankle,

and worse then, the multiple surgeries to repair discovered major damage,

so too much of a lapse in practice at first, no problem,

but then being told she would limp for the rest of her life,

that was the end of the grand scheme,

as she rings the bell, gets up and hobbles to the door,

minds the gap cautiously, steps off with effort to the curb,

may be done for the moment, but really, I told her,

this stop is only a pause before a transfer,

she, young, will board another one that will

carry her on toward her next destination.

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