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Civic Centre (for Kathryn)

by
 Moscow ballet at seven in the evening.
You look at everything.
You lay your cheek against my shoulder, smoothing down my sleeve, the Russian blizzards somehow less than bleak, portrayed with whimsy on the backdrop screens in dolloped watercolors as they are.
I ask if you know what their movement means.
You wish our situation not so far.
And everywhere, the audience defies convention and conformity, some dressed as though they had been made to improvise at the last minute, some in black-tie best.
You’re happy, in new satin, having run your fingers countless times from hip to hem – Anastasia, whereas I am anyone in tan, beside a jade and garnet gem.
With clarity and ease like these a-stage, comparison with any else in life seems but the smart annoyance of an age, scissors beside a blunted paperknife.
“Sit up.
Pay close attention.
Sugar Plum is dancing with such dignity,” I tell you, half-disheartened, when I hear you hum, you know Tchaikovsky’s symphony so well.

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