Slippers squeak before the bar.
Twenty ballet shoes point
in one direction, one does not.
Snap goes Mr. Levenov’s baton.
I watch his ballet shoes moving
toward me down the bar. He ‘s looms
over me and growls,

Wrong foot—you’re off
on the wrong foot—don’t you know
your left foot from your right?

I’m off, always off, onthe wrong foot
which goes back to being knee high,
not used to the precise chords of pressure
created by a dance recital.

Fixed in my memory way too long
and way too tall, Mr. Levenov, now
I’m looking down on you! I want to leap
over you so I can hold my body
in my own hands, althoughit may be empty
of flying arabesques, thanks, in part,
to you, Mr. Levenov.

I know I could not master
all the steps to propel myself into the space
of ballerinas as blue and beautiful
as a Christmas tree lit on Christmas night,
so I have turned to the dance of words.
I have left your old world terrorism.
I can write you shorter, I can shout
you silent. Snap goes my baton,
Mr. Levenov, snap.

Published ReImagining, Minneapolis, MN, Spring,1998
Published Whistling Girls and Cackling Hens, Sandra Larson, Pudding House Chapbook Series, 2003