365 Challenge : 018
 
She wraps the tape around 

her waist,

and she smiles when she sees

the overlap. 

They will cinch in her costume again,

tomorrow; 

they will speak lovingly

of her 

     long

     beautiful

     lines. 


She fingers the bones,

delicate and sharp,

that arch across her

chest;

she sips cold water,

chews shards of ice,

and ignores the needles of

pain

from her 

     grey

     grinding 

     teeth. 


Tomorrow she will wake,

and her head will spin

when she stands,

and all day long,

white, glittering ghosts

will hide in her peripheral. 

She will drink black coffee,

bitter on her tongue,

and she will hang the ribbons of her pointe shoes

around her

     long

     sloping

     neck. 


She will remember that first instructor,

who told her what shape 

ballerinas could be,

who accepted nothing less than 

perfection, 

who left no doubt in her mind 

that her worth was wrapped up 

in the numbers on that length of

     cutting

     choking

     tape. 


And they will watch her pirouette across the stage,

as delicate as a bird, 

brittle and breakable,

and they will know

her hunger,

and they will not speak of it. 

They will bring her roses, 

and she will press the petals to her

     cold

     pale

     cheeks.


And she will smile.