A Dancer's Shirt

By Elaine Naong

Fabric contracts and loosens through sequences

—pirouettes, chainés, jetés, rolls to the floor—

each movement rising then falling,

sinking then recovering.


A second skin breathing in and out with me,

through each step, each turn so meticulously executed,

through each electric beat blaring through the speakers

in this otherwise empty room.


This garment gathering

my sweat, my energy, my

insistence to carry on,

to get as close to enveloping the air

and the floor surrounding me

until my lungs

give out.