For Jenna (Age 8)


Like at your mom's and

the mall,


right in the middle

of the museum,


sporting Maya Studded Sandals

and pink toenail polish,


you swing up your arms and

shuffle yourself into fifth position,


then whip out haphazardly

Pique turns across the room,


tripping over a bench

and bump into the security guard –


turns you taught yourself

viewing You-Tube


tutorials. Your

cheeks glow a rosy hue,

embarrassed, looking up

at the man towering over you.


Bystanders encourage

you on, but catching your

breath, you stand by my side,


inching closer to Degas’  

young delicate dancers.


That’s me, you blurt out,


rising up as high as you can

on the bottom-front of your


the balls of your toes,


bending your elbows,

mimicking the ballerina on pointe


exhibiting pink roses fastened to

her white bell-shaped tutu and

floral wreath headpiece.


I applaud,

clapping and whistling.  


Perhaps in 140 years, there

will be a little girl prancing

about a museum, admiring an image of

you on stage, I say.



you lean forward, playing

the part of the second ballerina,

placing one foot

in front of the other


with light arms simply to

italicize the dancer ‘s role in

front of her, or


is she about to steady

herself in turn out, third arabesque? you inquire.


           * For Jenna O’Connor 




      Edgar Degas: Two Dancers on Stage