Waltzing Practice

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

Quivering, tremoring,


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


A blemish

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.