heartrending strains of saint-saens
achingly sweet as spun sugar
drift over you swan of my childhood
fluttering with broken wing
at the stage edge
or walking london suburbs
in hobble skirt and huge white hat
with whipped cream and strawberries
or fresh peaches topped with raspberry
(sorry, wrong diva
the divine melba a trifle
more acerbic than pavlova)


drifting down across the stage
her dying swan reminiscent
of that gallant bird
that drags a fraudulent wing
to lure a predator away
from her corps de ballet chicks


my mother saw her dance she said
it was like
watching nijinski leap skyward and
counting the seconds
before he touched down
except that she was dying slow
feather slow across the boards
as you believed
held your breath
to see her fluttering end


unlike that mongol dwarf anna pavlova
lacked substance corporeality
insubstantial as one of my grandmother’s meringues
she floats
sinks down
a gentle swell of ectoplasm
a breath of swansdown
beneath his comet leaps.