An Elegy for Gelsey by Mary Bargteil

An Elegy for Gelsey by Mary Bargteil

 Fiction, Vol. 1.3, Dec. 2007
  1. There is no air moving in this room. Seventy-six degrees and climbing. In the next room, cascades of
    dialogue swell and ebb. Three levels of narrow stairs lead to this room. In this room, there is one voice, one tone, one cadence. She orates, two score and four years of instruction. What time is it?

  2. In this room, a large open wood floor, floor to ceiling mirrors on one wall, wooden dance rails on brass supports, a chalk box for point shoes, the smell of baby powder, mushroom sweat, and Adorn hairspray; three soaring windows opening to The Phoenix restaurant and the hill behind, pink frappé sunset. You who held the front right spot at the barre. What music is playing?

  3. Rules: You must be eleven and be taking a minimum of four classes a week, to go en pointe. You must never chew gum. No more than two absences are allowed. Feet must be free from infection. Your hair may not escape your bun. Only black leotards and ballet pink tights are allowed. You may choose the manufacturer of your slipper. How many times has she thrown up this week?

  4. You who have not eaten since 8:17 a.m. It is now 2:57 p.m. You who are allergic to wheat products and dairy. Allergic to rudeness and condoms. There is a red delicious in her bag — two floors down. What is the circumference of her ankle?
  5. Broken blood vessels on her nostrils. Pin dots for pupils. She has lost four pounds this month. A snowbird now dusted with crank. How much does a dime bag weigh?
  6. Your steel-like legs that are doing the most fantastic technical feats while the upper body is soft and lovely as though nothing were going on underneath. Injecting your kisses with silicone and sarcasm. Where is your starry night?
  7. There are twelve core ballerinas in Firebird. Thirty-three lights aimed at the stage. Two lights covered with red jells are out. The producer is sleeping with the understudy. Mikhail has started a rehearsing a new ballet. Your Firebird on fire. On what page of the New York Times was her review printed?
  8. You are the centre in every posture, the blue of every flame. Missing three rehearsals.  You who were always troubled by daisy chains and square-toed shoes. How fast was she driving when her car hit the guardrail?
  9. Satin batting on the lid is insufficient. You who would have preferred a window and some vintage rock piped in. And you who would be wearing that stretched out cotton LL Bean baby blue long-sleeve tee and navy blue, sloppy pants with the bottom frayed to thread and your cloud slippers and finally, no lipstick at all. And company — she would have wanted daily company, when it was raining, of course, but especially when the sun was glowing like an overwhelming pas de chat, beating on her. Who last rubbed your tortured feet?
  10. Whose pining hopes dim, forbidden visions profound? No dying long sigh, no grand jeté. For all your art, no ovation, no dying bird. What day is it?

The Unrealistic Philosopher by Jimmy Chen

Surfeit by Katie Tunning

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