She shouted over the thump
of a grand piano
at our tentative pas de chats.
TRUST THE AIR she trumpeted
as teens peeled off into grand
jetés, her arms motioning us
upward toward unseen stars.
Sometimes the dreaded ELEPHANTS
ELEPHANTS, hands upraised
in mock horror. Her tinkling chandelier
doomed us to a dozen grand pliés
without a stabilizing barre.
Miss Ruth’s regime, a ballerina
boot camp, shaped body, will,
aesthetics. Those who survived
acquired a certain swaggering mastery.
Sixty years later, I look
in a full-length mirror and see,
through every seam of bone and sinew,
what she made of me.
Sharon Scholl is a professor emerita from Jacksonville University, Florida, where she taught humanities and non-Western studies. Her chapbook,
Summer’s Child, is new in 2016 from Finishing Line Press. She has individual poems currently in Adanna, Caesura, and Sin Frontera. A composer, she maintains a website that gives away free music to small choirs.