A painting of ballerinas
Standing tall and proud,
With pointed toes
And skirts made of clouds and
Lying on the ground, on her back.
With one leg in the air
And hands above her head,
Like a music box figurine.
Humming a song to herself
As she lay there
In the middle of the gallery floor.
She suddenly sprung up
And the image of her
In my mind
Floating and leaping across a studio floor
With pointed toes
And a skirt made of clouds
Floated away from me
As she did.
I could not help but follow.
I saw her standing in front of a painting.
People in the park,
On a Sunday.
Sitting and standing
In shadow and in light.
Ladies in long dresses,
Holding umbrellas as they walked,
And she was doing the same.
Her invisible umbrella in hand,
She walked with delicate steps,
Careful not to tread
On the long skirt
That would have been dragging along
The ground at her feet,
She pursed her lips
And held her chin high.
I could feel the warmth of the afternoon sun on my back.
And the lightness of a Sunday afternoon.
Before I knew it she had wandered away again.
I found her in front of a painted ship
On a stormy sea
Dark and gray
With large white sails fighting the cruel winds,
Looking impossibly helpless amid the waves.
She rocked slowly on her feet
—toe to heel to toe and back again—
And she began raising her arms,
With movements strong enough
To wear down the rock of jagged coastlines
Or knock me off my feet.
She walked towards the exit,
Dragging her fingertips along the wall.
As the door opened
And the sunlight shone through the doorway,
I expected the light
To go right through her.
She had given so much of herself to every painting,
that there could not be anything left.
I thought she would disappear into the light,
dissolve until there was nothing left
But the feeling of pointed toes
And Sunday afternoons
And stormy air.