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Disguise

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On stage,
The orchestra strikes its final note
as I arc in my partners steel arms:
arms crossing up,
back arcing,
ribboned powder pink pointe shoes outstretched.
My bun points to the floor
as the spotlight fades.
Silhouetting me,
my arc in the shadow.
The crowd fuels me
and I feel like I could balance for days.

Curtains close,
partner abandoning me.

Backstage,
I remove the makeup
that hides sleepless nights and worry wrinkles.
I untie the ribbons:
stained and used,
revealing my blistered, bleeding feet.
As I pull off my leotard,
the fluorescent lights accentuate
deep blue and royal purple stains
spotting my waist.
For a minute, I stare disgusted,
ashamed.

Under fluorescent lights,
I slip into another façade.

This time,
perching my breasts on a shelf
and exposing my a**
with a skirt that covers less than my leotard.
I get on stage
where I’m paid to let high-class clients
slide their sleezy hands over me.
Where corrupt politicians
push dirty bills against my bruises.
Where I recede into my disguise
with dead eyes.





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