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Allongé

— Emma Aylor

Part-awake in the daily blue hour
that is somehow always Sunday,
the time before the sun shows somewhere
and we say is sunrise regardless. A dancer
marks grand jeté, pirouette, brisé
by small taps along the studio floor,
a practice; moves the hands and wrists
in mimesis of arms and legs
someday on stage to be flown apart—

it is in this northwest hour, between
recurring dreams whose folds have begun
to gape with use, that I think
we are homesick not for the places
of childhood but for the way
we could feel about any place then:
complete, sensuous, all of it
without compare.

Here it is—
opaque, nearly, a dark glass jellied
with the manner and order of its light.

Everything since might be too easy
to make postural, to display.
Are the winter-blooming jasmine,
fragrance thick as cream along these sidewalks,
by now something I only mark?
But there is a reversal here.
What was first perceived, the originary,
is in this metaphor the performance
that needed no rehearsal. And now I repeat
the reaction to it, recast gestures
in calcified spirals; the further we go
the paler we get, as if moving
away from the blush

of the swell and hinge of a seashell.
It is a nostalgia for the first body.
Mine—that stood at the barre,
bent one wrist, the other wrist,
that, on returning home, came to a place
on earth where I hadn’t yet fallen.


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