Poetry by Lois Rosen
I’m a kindergartener, showing off my sunset-gold, satin-topped
leotard, with the triple-layered, stiff net tutu, sticking way, way out,
wearing black leather ballerina slippers on the day-camp bus,
where Stanley, our driver grins. “You look beautiful,”
and I bow for my fans. I am the dancer who does not change
into shorts or a bathing suit all day.
Finally twelve, promoted to dance en pointe, I slip my feet
into pink satin toe shoes. Lambswool puffs caress my toes.
Long pink satin ribbons crisscross my ankles. I teeter on
tippy toes, rising relevé, pas de bourrée, and, assemblée, aloft.
In the mirrored room, at the barre, I plié, arabesque, let go,
float above Mrs. Berliner’s live piano’s Debussy, Tchaikovsky.
Now 70, at Jazzercise—no barre, no mirrored walls, not
one tutu, any old sneakers, ceiling fans to cool hot flashes,
I move to “Uptown Funk,” “Love Yourself,” “Rock
That Body,” and the consolation of “One Call Away.”
Stiff and creaky, still I grapevine, plié, chassé, as iPod
speakers blare, and walk sassy to “Baby, I’m Worth It.”
Lois Rosen won Willamette Writers 2016 Kay Snow Fiction Award. The Rainier Writing Workshop awarded her an MFA and a Debra Tall Memorial Scholarship. Her poetry books are Pigeons (Traprock Books, 2004) and Nice and Loud (Tebot Bach, 2015). Lois’s writing has appeared in many journals including: VoiceCatcher, Willow Springs, Alimentum, Calyx, The Timberline Review, and The Night, and the Rain, and the River. Her story “The Hollywood Life” was performed at the inaugural Liars’ League PDX.