A Glass Dancer

I haven’t been able to write this week.
I’ve been unraveling from the edges that brush against the world.
The softness falls away, and I am a skeleton of splintered glass.
Balancing fractured surfaces upright.

I took a course once on trauma and movement and the instructor said something that shifted my perspective. Drama teachers I’ve had, and have worked with use a standard image during warm-up sequences: “Now roll up: one vertebra at a time. Stacking one on top of the other.”

An upright stack of bones being pulled toward the earth.

But the body doesn’t work that way. You cannot stack a skeleton. Not in death. Not in life.

We are suspension bridges.

I think about this image a lot. I come back to it when I feel heavy in the world. We are animated by opposing tensions. Naturally pulled in varying directions as we go about our days. It opens us. Our ribs open and lift like wings when we breathe.

Life needn’t be
a fight against gravity
a balancing act
precarious brain-on-bone-
on-bone afraid of breathing

We can choose to fly
whisper in each other’s ear
I’m going to lift you
now like a dancer come running
trust I’ve got you even from here


6 Comments

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  1. This helped me so much this morning. And I’m sending it to someone I love. Thank you. It’s -14 C. where I am this morning. You are one the points I’m suspended from.

    • Oh, Katherine. After this week, this makes me cry. And really does make me feel like someone out there is catching me. Thank you. And do stay warm! Here the snow is sliding off the room outside my window in sloppy dumps every 10 minutes or so. Nearing 0 C. I am guessing.

  2. Something of kin to what you here wrote I think. One of a handful most brilliant life-lyrics. As well your “our ribs open and lift like wings”, beautifully said. And oh, I always thought gravity our friend.

    “Let Me Fall” lyrics from Cirque du Soleil, Quidam. Take a look?

    An easy google search or I can copy here if you wish.

  3. I’ve been unraveling from the edges that brush against the world.
    The softness falls away, and I am a skeleton of splintered glass.
    Balancing fractured surfaces upright.

    Ren,

    This is such vivid imagery – I wish I had written it (I don’t wish to have experienced it though!)

    I’m glad you choose to fly.

    Yours,
    David

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