She is hot from dancing, a beautiful orchid in ballet pink, her frills gray with grime, droplets of dew run down her face, the missing track lights leave her elegant dance for lonely shadows, a draft wisps across the dusty wood floor, the mirrors are pitted and cracked, the wash of her pink figure sailing back and forth between them, the dance of a tropical fish, the sounds of creaking planks, her jumps and thumping of boards, her shallow and deep breathing, her rhythm under the breath counting, the leather toe shoes shushing on the gritty floor, the pink fire licks the mirrors, the door swings in a gust of breeze, a window latch is undone, she never notices you standing there, shadow with teeth shining in the darkness, your eyes magnetized to her movement, we watch with anticipation, never a creature so lovely, the sailing of parachutes, leaping of gazelles of pink butterflies and cake trimmings you move forward, a line of drool slipping down your chin, it glistens in the half-light, you are clapping for her and your naked smile covers her face, you are her flesh-eating audience, she pushes harder, faster, for you alone she pirouettes, she doesn’t know you, but she needs you, you are reaching your hands to her, she is swaying in exhaustion, the dying swan, you reach out, I hold her hand, her sweating body, in a fever of dance, she is spent, it’s so easy to help her, I am helping her lay down, her thin sweaty legs in my hands, her frosting lips parting, gasping for breath, her constricting tights, I remove them, I do, I alone can help her quiet, calm, her sad little dance beaten back at every step, I free her from the encumbrance of flesh, I am wrapping her white neck with the throat of the dying swan, and she is still, waiting to dance, to dance again as I am lifting her, her leap of silence into clouds from years of molting feathers from a broken lawn flamingo once again a silent pink swan.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women. Contributors: Hertha D. Sweet Wong - Editor, Lauren Stuart Muller - Editor, Jana Sequoya Magdaleno - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2008. Page number: 263.