At the cotillion they wait, the gloved whispering gallery,
hands poised as the first is let out of the gate.
She’s been trained to kneel,
rustling silk attention to this courtly descent.
Now she’s a white palace of nerves.
So much depends on this crumpling gesture.
What if blooms,
diverts her mind to a time when
she saw her feet turn green
in a shoe store X-ray machine.
Her bones luminous
with youth and dimestore hope.
Clicking spotlights glare
a burning moon on the floor.
Under the dome
she’s harnessed in light.
Knees crack, ankles wobble.
In three counts, descent’s begun
followed by ascension.
In 1601 Pocohantas made such a
curtsy to the Queen.
But first she cart-wheeled nude,
for the benefit of the British army.