Anne Pitkin

He was most himself when he danced.
An unlearned grace possessed him when he danced.
A child, he brought onto the stage
a landing heron, a deer mid-leap when he danced.
All summer, acrobatic purple martins woke the air.
He could glide like them and spiral when he danced,
adored the air he slipped through like their scalpel wings.
The air adored him when he danced.
Trees were aunts and uncles, birds messengers
with news of another country when he danced.
Sissy!  The town called him.  Pretty girl.
He was not normal when he danced.
He gave it up.  Normal meant more
to the child than joy when he danced.
It’s in the past, Anne.  Let it go—
how grace could save him only when he danced.


ANNE PITKIN's work has appeared in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Alaska Quarterly Review and many others.  Her full length collections are YELLOW, Arrowood Books 1989,  and WINTER ARGUMENTS, Ahadada Books 2011. She is an editor Emerita of Fine Madness, a poetry magazine based in Seattle.