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Dress Rehearsal

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Branches etch the film of ice
on the studio window. A crow looks in,
hopping and shrieking when I dance
in my black tutu, trimmed with silver.

The ballet master says, you are its mother.
But in a crow’s sky-knowing mind
could I be so misconstrued?
Out of the blackest

cold-wet air, the crow seems molded.
The stars will not wake up to guide it
back to the creek of shadows
where it was formed. Practice, practice.

I am smoke in darkness, climbing away
from a burning hut, in an otherwise empty field
on which the fire is slight and low,
and the rest of it is snow.

Source: Poetry (November 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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Dress Rehearsal

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