after Swan Lake
The curtain rises, clean as a guillotine
dripping velvet crimson. You, my sister,
pirouette—the false bride, the decoy. All
eyes survey your whirl like palms assessing
thigh meat. All tongues grow wet with hunger,
craving to bite breast. I sail past the owl
whose brow compresses thunder. Beat
my wings against the window wheeled
from offstage. Feathers fall like apple blossoms,
like a gutted pillow. Ballroom breath condenses
on you, heavy pulsing pearls. If I clutch this
bright tiara in my soggy webbed foot, if I pierce
this glass with diamond, we could fly from here.
Place our hands around each other’s waists, cast off
the tutus. Bow our heads and regain union:
ouroboros asp. Cut the strings and use the wooden
sets as raft and paddle—plunge the dirk,
though just a prop, into the wizard’s heart.
Catherine Kyle is the author of Shelter in Place (Spuyten Duyvil, forthcoming), Saint: A Post-Dystopian Hagiography (dancing girl press, 2018), Parallel (Another New Calligraphy, 2017), Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015), Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015), and Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014). Her writing has been honored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Alexa Rose Foundation, and other organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University and is pursuing an MFA in Poetry through New England College’s low-residency program. She teaches creative writing at the College of Western Idaho and through The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. Her website is www.catherinebaileykyle.com.
Artwork: Brooke Shaden