He stands en pointe, his large toes crushed together in his pink ballet shoes. His tattoos jiggle and jerk and wiggle on his face his arms his neck his back. He wears a light and frothy tutu and does a Pirouette a Relevè a Pliè a Cambrè, his broad back bent.

He cannot dance.

He sees a mouse beside the wall, its whiskers quiver in delight. He sashays and spins for his audience of one, his gossamer tutu floating like a cumulous cloud. He puffs his cigarette mid-spin and lets the smoke envelope him as he twirls and twirls and twirls and twirls.

He falls apart.

He gently swishes to the floor and makes snow angels in the dust, the wood splinters catching in his fingertips. He points his toes and lifts a leg and watches his muscles bulge and ripple in his leopard skin leotard.

He sheds a tear.

He takes another drag on his little stick of poison and holds the pleasure deep inside his lungs. He gets to his knees and lifts his arms as delicately as a swan, and just as vicious.

The music stirs him to his feet, he Arabesques, Degagès, Assemblès, spins and jumps and leaps and turns and takes a bow.

The mouse is gone.

He sighs and stalks towards his bag, his muscles aching from the dance,


his heart.