Because we had finished
reading David Copperfield aloud long ago. Because our journals were snug
in water proof wrapping and the mainsail lay in a heap on deck, not yet
furled. Because we had weathered the alternating four-hour watches in
heavy mixed seas. Because anything that could have sustained us had
long since been washed away from the now dried scuffers in the cockpit.
Because finally the Ginny flapped aimlessly after days of anxious
I went aft to a spot I had gone to many
times before; to where the rough aquamarine paint had been worn shiny
white and smooth by my bare feet. I stood with my heels off the stern.
The teak bar dug into the balls of my feet. I laced my hands around the
aft mast stay and leaned back over the moving sea. I hung there a
while, surveying Narooma, surveying the nearly indeterminable horizon,
an envelope of blue above and below, the water so clear you could make
out starfish thirty feet down. Feeling my weight pull on my
arms, I leaned further out, and for a moment I thought about how little
it would take to let go and stay in this place forever.
My name is Ester and I’m the
Prima Ballerina of the Wilson County Ballet Society in one of those
elongated Midwestern states. As the Prima Ballerina, I try to be a good
example to the other four ballerinas.
As you know, our constant spinning
turns the excessive sugary sweetness of our spittle into cotton candy,
even more so when we graduate to toe shoes. We simply have to spit the
cotton candy onto the ground.
Recently the mayor of our town
asked if I could talk to the ballerinas about the excessive
He said, “No one wants to look down and
see little fluffy balls of cotton candy everywhere!”
Some folks had complained at a town
council meeting, saying they had seen little dots of cotton candy
around gas pumps, outside building entrances and on sidewalks. Some had
even stepped on the little globs and had had quite a queasy feeling
I said, “We shouldn’t have to
stop spitting our cotton candy on the ground. It is our right.”
He sympathized with me, but asked me to
talk to the girls, which I agreed to do. This is not going to go over
Grace Curtis lives
in Waynesville, Ohio, works for the Antioch Review and
writes about poetry at www.n2poetry.com. Her chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth,
was the 2010 winner of the Lettre Sauvage poetry chapbook
contest. She has had work published in The Baltimore Review,
Literary Journal, The
Chaffin Journal, Waccamaw
Literary Journal, Red
River Review, among others.
front page image is copyright ©
by Tony Kitterick, 2012