The company didn’t send anything bigger
than a medium, and so we’re sent downstairs
without our feathers, leotard-clad fledglings
with broken wings and bleeding feet.
Odette follows us to the dressing room, watches
as we cover ourselves, trying to slip back into
street clothes without exposing bare skin.
“You know,” she says, smiling, “it’s a good lesson.
Look at a swan: graceful, elegant, light.
That’s what you must be—weightless.”
We apologize, faces hot with sweat and shame.
It’s our fault. We don’t look like the rest.
There’s a reason we’re at the back of the flock.
(love for it can only go so far…)
Listening, I’m grounded, pinned to the earth
by a few extra pounds and a “normal” waistline.
She keeps talking about how easy it is to fly.