The Dancer
by torrin a. greathouse

i have this dream where i am dancing
     under spotlights / body wrapped in dusk
          like a bruised palm       dark & tight

as unripened cherries / my body a discount hurricane

                    [bearing my mother’s name]

knee tucked tight to my chest

                         pirouette on pointed toes /

               like music box porcelain

tight muscled leg accordion inhaling

     as plié transforms my entire body /

                              into an alabaster wing

     in this dream i am grace
          with battered toes / but unmarked knuckles

a bow that bends
               only notes

               & never arrows / into flight

body never taught to be weapon
never taught fistfight sits on the other side
                              of Faggot
                    in the dictionary of man

          never taught that Faggot was a bad thing

     never taught to be broken
                              string before this body
               learned to sing

in this dream the curtains never close
          my body simply fades

                    to daylight
& when i unshackle my body / from the sky
                              black sheets

          i reach for my cane /
                    feel the way it presses into my palm
                              so familiar.

PHOTO: “The Dancer” by lassedesignen, used by permission.

torrin a. greathouse
is a non-binary, queer poet from Southern California, & the co-founder of Black Napkin Press. Their work has been published or is upcoming in Rust + Moth, Chiron Review, Caliban Online, TQ Review, & The Feminist Wire. Their first full length collection, In Search of Stray Gods, is upcoming this year.