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Poem-a-Day

At Nijinsky's Grave

AT NIJINSKY'S GRAVE

Two pair of ballet slippers,
one pink, one blue,
for the only part of you
that cannot dance now

that you are dead.
I prefer that picture of you
in Les Orientales,
in cap and bells,

holding delicately by their stems
invisible flowers.
Death hates dancing,
but out of respect for you

turned your grave into
a low-ceilinged ballroom,
the floor of packed dirt
lit by a chandelier

of white roots but you’ve
yet to arrive, for that part
of you that still dances can’t
breathe underground,

like how, when Pollock died,
a little girl at the funeral said,
“He’s not down there,
he’s in the woods.”
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