When They Dream of the Stars – Poetry by Trisha Santanam

Three Dancers in an Exercise Hall – Edgar Degas

It is the first performance of the season,
the performers nervously massage calloused feet
that will in a few seconds glide on shiny timber; 
we dancers are different breed of human
but like mortals we too have our gods:
the ghosts of dancers long gone. 

They were first spotted
over twenty years ago,
their wispy shadows flitting between the ruins 
of an era where self-inflicted pain
equated undeniable beauty.

Even when the building is empty,
I feel the weight of their eyes 
pressing down on me.

We take the stage, 
our hands placed delicately on curved hips,
a gauzy skirt covering a valley of sucked in fat;
replicas of those who came before but
dreams of those who come after.

A smoldering candle,
some frantic buckets poured 
on thick velvet cloth,
plumes of smoke billowing out,
the drop of the heavy curtain:

As I lay there buried beneath
mountains of debris, 
a cool vapor swam around;
the dancers fearful yet unable to 
escape the ancients.

Lightly, I reach out a hand
but get no help,
and like those who came before,
drift into the eternal dance of suffering.

About the Poet

Trisha Santanam is a student from Greensboro, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Train River’s Summer 2020 poetry anthology and is upcoming in the Cardiff Review and PANK magazine. 

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

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