The stage was a dark lake, shivering with a shimmer of cygnets.
I sensed her spinning within, my swarthy, sinuous twin,
lynx-lithe, pirouetting out of my pale skin;
sweating a sootiness, slippery with suppleness,
her rosin-floured feet feeling for the floor;
inky undulations twisted from contortions at the barre.
The prickle of pitchy plumage, black feathers needling beneath skin,
the tear of talons as she danced inside my shoes; my own dark kin.
Her darkness directed the dance, manipulated props, manoeuvred me
against a night sky backdrop splintered with crushed glass stars.
She netted me in ebon tulle, nightshade wings beating in my heart.
Combined art leapt to heady heights as music swirled around us.
Her black shadow waltzed me as I whirled white satin steps;
breath gasped faster, lungs heaving, hard as the shank of my shoe.
Flooded by a flare of footlights, meshed arms and wings flailing in air;
drowning in dark waters, her swan song dancing on my tongue.
by Charlotte Puddifoot
for Nette Onclaud's 'Let's Dance' contest