Odette

i. 

An extension. 

             Pas de deuxs danced alone by a swan upon a lake. Her slender arms and long legs glide across measures of isolated notes. Mute words that sound like the depths of the forgotten and flavorless lyrics that taste like the heights of the remembered.  

I want to go to her.  

 

Flats that support calloused feet.  

             Five toes that hold the weight of her kintsugi feathers and curved heart. Never wavering in the cold doubt like I, but five intrepid toes gnarled by cumbersome weights are stronger than the double of my silver sword and gilded crown. 

 I think I love her. 

 

Diminutive pink strings elegantly tied around sturdy pink ankles. 

              She curtsies. The bullfrogs croak for an encore and the fish nibble at her slippers, thirsty to share in her brilliance. Embers of her dance tumble from my lips as if a fairy’s mistake turned my thoughts to jewels. She meets my eyes and treasures my words as if they are far more than precious emeralds and far gentler than rose quartz. My knees falter. The muddy bank tries to take me. 

                                    I feel her arms around me. 

  

ii. 

Her life is encased in a feather cloak.  

                           She shares the warmth with my trembling figure. How can a swan hold such kindness in white and gold wings? She snuggles close, whispering embers into my icy skin. I listen to her voice that snaps and pops as delicately as flames, drinking in ash like her words are crumbs and I have forgotten the taste of toast. 

 

She shouldn’t remove her cloak.  

                          The candle that burns with her life would flicker and fade. A curse or blessing, I wonder aloud. Shooting stars tumble from her lithe lips and lace the air we share. Both. The diamond thought rings through our breaths. The cloak that is a curse and blessing should be protected. Yet she shares it with me. 

 

She would do stupid things for love. 

 

iii. 

Fluttering warmth. Warmth. A silver spotlight that centers over a heartbeat. Whether it is hers or mine, I cannot say. Our chests press together, fluttering downy feathers cushion each tender touch. Her fingers are liquid as they cup my burning cheeks. The dancer pushes herself to her toes. A graceful cloud caresses my lips. I melt into her crystal crests and find myself wrapping my arms around her waist. Her cloak entwines us. She pushes. I pull. Into each other I cannot tell where the earth ends or where the galaxies begin.  

                   The sky pulls back. 

A cluster of platinum stars curl into a smirk. My lips feel naked and my chest burns. She lays her head over my heart. She pulls. I push. Into each other, drowning, in clear skies I stutter out the kisses on the tip of my tongue. I love you. She eloquently returns them.  

                   The earth falls into the sky. 

Clouds fill my lips. Moist nacre envelops the mist. Her lips are pearls against mine. I want to string her kisses into a necklace that I can wear over my heart. I feel her smile lines carve comets into my skin. She pushes. I pull. Into each other I found a collection of stardust nuzzling our chests in vapors of pink, blue, green, and gold. I hold her, not wanting to ever let go.  

  

iv.  

Trimmings of sweet love and roses dribble across the sky. Tigers chasing lilies blot out wishing stars. Her smile wavers, like the moon, and together they fade and melt into the white crests of the water. Her cloak covers her arms, her legs in confines of silence but  

it gives her wings. 

It’s not enough! 

             Time. Time and time again once-upon-a-times fill my gilded crown with all the seconds and minutes that slipped from my fingers like water. Lost requiems that could have feigned sufficient enough to repay the embers she shared. I did not have the time to taper my chaotic strengths into a language that a swan can comprehend.  

                                                                                How do you compress words into diamonds?  

Wings 

               For ascending the need for copper thoughts. I lack the thing she would be willing to give. 

 

               No! Let her keep her wings. Her curved glass heart is one with her kintsugi cloak. She would share something so precious, so delicate, with a clumsy lover whose words turn to toads and crickets. A mistake. My mistake.  

For falling in love. 

 

v. 

The day warms our cheeks and she curls against me, a bundle of feathers, and I curl against her, drifting along her watery crests… 

               The lake shimmers in golden light. A glass menagerie solidifies as creatures curved by embers and tender hands change from liquid to something far more fragile. They dance towards the glade—the small figures—and surround a glass swan and a glass knight. Those two slide against each other with the gentlest of tinks. Enthralled and frightened, I watch as they push and pull into each other’s arms. They dance. 

                And dance.  

                               And dance. 

                    I want to stop them. The tinks grow harsher to my anxious ears. Fragile. Those figures are so fragile. The knight tosses the swan into the air. Her translucent wings reflect pink, green, and blue diamonds. She plummets like a falling star. I turn away, convinced that the swan and knight will shatter the moment they collide. Convinced I will hear 

                              The sickening crunch of broken glass. 

I open my eyes to find not glass shards but ribbons of pink clouds and the warm embers of her hazel gaze. Her cloak pulls back. She offers me her hand. Visions of glass wings flash through my mind. 

                                          Glass. Glass.  

We are just glass and we are so fragile.  

                                          Too fragile.  

I can’t let her do stupid things for love. 

 

vi. 

I am the tar to her feathers. She never flinched. My sticking, clinging, searing, marring touch encased her. She only smiled. Smiled a crescent moon that promised to orbit the clay in the earth that preserved only bones in burning, black, pits.  

             No. 

                          No! 

Doesn’t she understand? My fragile words and her fragile cloak. She cannot be a loyal swan. Let her be a comet! With a tail made of paper stars and feathered quills. I’ll toss her out of my orbit. I will not let her fall into me only for her embers to flicker and fade as children wish on her remains. I’ll only push. I won’t fall into her pull. I will save the sky from shattering.  

 

Oh.  

               oh 

I have never seen how tears turn hazel eyes to blue.  

 

vii.  

I lack the warmth of a swan for she is now a winged comet. In her path, searing a course through the heavens and leaving in her wake drops of words that become the very stars that I wish on. The hot tears that change all that is brown to blue pepper her sky and my earth.   

                           I was just protecting her. 

 

Time. There’s even less of time now and ever more I have ever wanted to proclaim. Jewels and crickets slip through my lips in worthless jumbles. I miss her. I miss her softness and warmth. I miss curling against her as she pressed clouds against my chest.  

                          I only wanted to protect her.  

 

Every millennia, she dances into my orbit, and leaves me one of her feathers I know she has kissed, for it smells of the moon and hazel eyes. She’s gone before I can turn my thoughts to emeralds or roses for her sake. In hopeful optimism, I always miscalculate when she will return. For how can you calculate the path of a dancer who follows her heart? Carved by fragile hands and repaired by faithful ones with golden paste. 

                          I thought that I was protecting her.  

 

The extension. Of dancing slippers where the earth met the sky. She extended her kintsugi cloak to a silver sword. Her pas de deuxs always held room for two. I wonder who was protecting who when our heartbeats entwined. I wonder if they still beat to the same silver spotlight. My clumsy kisses. Her eloquent touches. I wonder if the tastes of clouds can ever be forgotten or if that would be a mistake.

My mistake 

                                                                               Was turning her into a memory.   

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