by Beverly Dahlen

The woman goes on display. She is fiery and caressive,
billowing in a prepared speech, hatless, leaning, she
steps into her clothes. The fine check of the tip of
her tongue on the points of her teeth is barely visible
to the observer beside her as she rolls and plunges with
utterance. She is enchanted with enactment. Fingers
flow through the lapping hair, then an arm darts forward,
piscean, reptilian, a gesture of Medusa, the gnashing
of Helen.

She is truly ethereal, cunning, but suddenly clouded
with content, she is swept beneath the flood. Wordless
in disaster, whipped in the brisk air, she turns slowly
floating. She is wistful as Ophelia, nagging with her
blank stare. Her heart spits and whispers bent low to
the microphone. She glitters, she breathes. Tempting
as a victim, she pauses and cheers. In that moment she
breaks, grinning. The audience goes up in smoke. She
is stricken with applause.

March, 1991

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