Poetry / November 2011 (Issue 15)

Silk Road

by W.F. Lantry

The stage is blank now. Ribbons swirling, smoke
illuminated from beneath by red
lamps focused on the emptiness, oak boards
laid down into a pattern which affords
a place to leap and land: the colored thread
of narrative in dance has disappeared.

Those arms, like crane wings catching air, once sheared
the curtained wind as if to fly, their lines
as straight as quills, or intricate cleft braids
whose interwoven motion still cascades
like water falling through the wreathed designs
we only dreamed could be performed. But she

who danced with careless practiced ecstasy,
and gave movement to form, her legs taut springs
to carry her along those lights where birds
no longer fly, the calligraphs of words
written in air by limbs where red silk clings,
leapt into space and found no place to land.

We all must fall in pain. I understand.
But still I dream of cranes among the reeds,
their wings just opening, ready for flight,
extended feathers catching sunset light
like fingers parting strings of colored beads,
rising a little more with each wingstroke.
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