Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Urban Prima Ballerina

My Modern Met

I first saw one
When I was visiting
Gigi’s apartment.

Mrs. Ortiz had the TV
On one of those cable networks
Dedicated to the arts,
While piles and piles
Of laundry covered the furniture
In the small living room.

As Gigi ran to the bedroom
She shared with her two sisters,
I stood transfixed
By the woman
With an impossibly short
Mini skirt over a bathing suit.

“You like?”
I heard the smile
In Mrs. Ortiz’s voice.
“She’s the prima ballerina,
The star of the ballet.

That afternoon,
I sat on the Ortiz’s floor,
My eyes trained on the telly
While the woman of the house
Told me everything she knew
Of ballerinas, ballets
And the like.

Momma couldn’t afford
To send me to ballet lessons,
She said as much
When I asked,
So every Tuesday and Thursday,
After school,
You would find me
At Gigi’s place
Watching ballerinas jump
And twirl with Mrs. Ortiz.

I would memorize
Every move
And on the way home
I would mimic
What I saw.
I would practice
And practice
Until I become known as
The neighbourhood ballerina.

Then one evening,
Just as I completed
A complicated routine,
A lone round of applause
Echoed in the alley.

In it’s entrance
Stood a petit woman
With an enviable presence.

“Come with me.”
An expression of admiration
Was written across her face.
She introduced herself
As the owner of a ballet school
Located a few blocks away.
She was directed to my alley
And there she would find
An urban prima ballerina.

And so,
I went with her.
She taught me
Free of charge.
We fought.
We reconciled
And under her tutelage,
I became a real ballerina.

Over the years
That followed,
I work very hard
Until I became
A renowned prima ballerina,
But always in my heart,
I will always be
An urban prima ballerina.

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