by Laura Schaeffer

Published in Issue No. 269 ~ October, 2019

Dancing became a gift she could now see, but with some other eye and not as a thing needed to be unwrapped. There in stream, nothing to be caught or cupped. A first and lasting movement orchestrated and repeating, like water in a whirl or rushed fall or an escape rising into air. Held note. A visible note. She could now see, with that other eye, the presence of a singular lyre which had accompanied her in descent and its fatal retrieving, a faint strum of wind that encircled her tirelessly, that buoyed her between steps of a waltz. The face of the dancer she could not make out. She called for him but could no longer recall a name, only the essence of salt, what skin had been. Still, the grasp of hand. Without body, she trembled. And where was she, at last, she couldn’t be certain; prelude or refrain? Chords of the in descript, thick as the trunks of trees along the river of forgetting, somewhere, somewhere she did not know. Perhaps then, the gift and the melody consoled her, finding residence within the mist of herself, being at times a pizzicato in her rapturous freedom or stone beats she bowed to as a request to place her foot upon. Drums to expectant views. There was an absence as perpetual as the dance, like a songbird in a canyon. And she believed herself to be only an echo now within the east and west expanse, though capable of attunement skipping up and down the musical bars. She offered herself to the faces of others.

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Laura Schaeffer is a 2016 graduate of Goddard College’s MFA Creative Writing Program and received her undergraduate degree in English/Creative Writing from the University of Washington. Her poetry has been published in The Pitkin Review, Ars Poetica, Currents, Poetry Corners, and The Far Field. She is particularly interested in creative collaborations, writing as resiliency, and poets who have endured displacement and alienation due to war and social oppression. She is currently working on a collection of poems addressing the heroin epidemic.