Legs and Toes


Ballet, just at home, with a hand on the edge of my open top dresser drawer, in leggings and a tiny top, so I can see my stomach fully sucked in, if you can hold in your belly, you can support anything, and my butt fully tucked, my spine’s results must be straight for the sake of art, not even vanity, though that’s nice, and ballet slippers, there is concentration, pull, demands, and such straightness in such a crooked world.

There is how I can point my toe, not as much as the ballerinas in the video, but it points, and how much I can raise a leg, circle it, until my forehead and under my breasts is sweaty.

In a crooked world, where I might have to wait twenty minutes for a train, how did that happen, in the waiting room that is glass-enclosed, with two heaters hung from the ceiling, and black metal benches that run one length of it, a trash can in the center.

A man walked in wearing nothing but a red t-shirt, as a Gandhi-style diaper.  He said nothing we could understand.  He didn’t stay long.  He had other business.

I had my crossword puzzle, and my thin sharpie, which is not because I don’t make mistakes, but because one must sin boldly.

I am sitting at a tall table in the Queens college student union, and I realize eating lunch sparks my panic, still sizzling from a full panic attack Monday, and I think, I can go downstairs and chat with my coworkers.

I do this, and the bitter, burning adrenaline that has been rising up my throat simmers down. I ask questions I don’t need to ask.  I make jokes.  I get the food down.

Where I get off the subway, in Jamaica, Queens, there are the dollar vans, actually $2, I hear, there are young men standing by vans running these technically illegal but traditional form of transportation.  I don’t know where the dollar vans go.

Only if it is warm, on the street they sell fruit.

Only on Valentine’s Day, they sell flowers, all bundled up, the sellers are, not the flowers, they’ll be outside all day, and it’s cold, February.

It’s Jamaica, with family court across the street, a historic house a block away, some sort of social service agency I go past, when I take the bus, lots of people get on the bus there.

Jamaica is spelled that way now, but it is so-called because of the Jameco Indians, who are long gone.

It just makes me sad.  Jamaica Queens is not warm, no palm trees, no beach.

It is so warm, I put on the dress I just bought.  It is too cold to wear the dress, even with a heavy chocolate wool sweater over it.  My legs freeze, bare, my ears are cold.  “You can borrow my jacket,” someone says, but I am too vain to do this.

I take the train from church to the New York Times.

It occurs to me that these are two foundations of my faith: church, journalism.  The third would be Art, just plain Art, if I had proceeded to the Met, what a day.  I did not, I went to 41st Street and over, on one side of the building was no one, and I thought, aw, no one came, but around the corner people were holding signs and chanting.  Bagels, Coffee, and A Free Press, a sign says.

For one hour– not even, for half an hour, I chanted, and my problem (of those many political problems I have) was leaving lots of prestigious media outlets, outlets with many American readers who want their reporting done, their questions asked, out of presidential press briefings.  We want, we are owed for the loan of our power.

I was cold again, because today my underestimating of the weather was thin skirt, cold knees, boots, wool sweater and coat, wool hat, not enough for 43 degrees, knees out.

Image: “Diana,” Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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