My Training

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Each Saturday morning
was like the one before —
Get up, eat breakfast,
attend ballet.
Ms. Amy, the perfect ballerina,
taught me the meaning of
anguish and adoration.
She demanded perfection
from her little swans —
but I was just a crow.
Nothing I did was ever
good enough — I was told
that she saw potential
in me and that is why
she pushed me so hard.
Removing my skirt was
my punishment — my back
wasn’t swayed. My hips
were rotated just so —
but that pesky little (ahem)
not so little derriere
caused so much agony for me
at the barre. No skirt, no
dignity. When it was time to
exchange our soft slippers
for our point shoes, Ms. Amy
would watch as we wrapped our
toes with paper towels from
the bathroom — no gel pads
or extra stuffing allowed.
If she was feeling
generous she said
we could use a little
lambswool — but just a
little bit! I remember
inspecting myself
in the mirror — scowling
at my svelte dancer physique
Never good enough — the girl
next to me was always
thinner, more flexible,
more graceful, had a prettier
arch in her foot —
Just like Ms. Amy, I
only saw my flaws, and perhaps
unlike Ms. Amy, I never saw
my potential.

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