by Moumina Khan
A majestic palace, a darkened stage, a cloudless sky, a blank page
A clock in the background.
(And a five! Six! Seven! Eight!)
Words dance and leap and twirl
Spinning through sentences and pirouetting around punctuations
With carefree smiles, gliding effortlessly through invisible lines
Their adorning adjectives glistening:
Splendid diamonds dangling off the swells of letters
Verbs, their beckoning smiles gently grabbing eyes and tugging them along the pages,
To dance the night away, lost among the whirling colors of ethereal nouns bedecked in finery
Spun from ink and paper
Tone and cadence reaching a cresceNDO
Then thundering down, arms outstretched as if to
A perfect landing, balanced on poised toes. A smile, a final bow, and the curtain falls.
A pile of ruin, a creaky stage, a sunblocking cloud, a passing age
A pen, hovering over a page
Poised between blue lines
Ink pooling behind a ballpoint tip
To replicate the words dancing through the mind,
Until they spill off the paper and smudge onto the desk and coat the fingers
in the ebony residue of their performance.
And a five
A tremble, a want
Ink escaping the crevices between the balled point
Dripping through the air, ready to dance and twirl onto the blank page that arrives closer and closer–oh, already it is straightening its form to fall into a perfect shape– hand outstretched, landing in a
An ugly, misshapen smear
A ruined page, a procession of mismatched words tripping over their feet
Tumbling and crashing into each other
Landing in a misshapen heap
Piling up in crossed out sentences and becoming
dark sludge until they press up against darkened bodies, their weight crushing chests and pressuring thoughts and slowly stealing breath from lungs as they force themselves down throats
and snatch strangled gasps and squeeze out hot tears that drip onto and blur those invisible lines
until you can’t breathe and you’re drowning and you’re closing your eyes and…
And a five. Six. Seven. Eight.
A ring of ashes, a darkened stage, a discolored sky, a tarnished page.
Fingers curled around a poised pen.
A diamond adjective, an alluring verb,
A midsummer’s ball, twinkling just out of sight in the corners of thoughts
Hand just out st r e t c h ed
A lit match, a brewing storm, a shushing audience, a focusing form.
A pen touches the page
An intake of breath, the piercing first note of a waltz
The words dance again.