Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Her body inscribes

Her body inscribes

By Marge Piercy

For a ballet dancer who died of anorexia

Her body inscribes an arc like a fine metal
point, her body is a feather floating.
Her bones are those of a swallow,
her bones are chalky.
Her bones are hollow as flutes.

Her flesh is only lacquer on muscles
taut and overworked, tendons
that ping like breaking violin strings,
joints forced the wrong way,
blood in her toe shoes.

Even though she has no flesh
still she bleeds from her feet.
She is a perfect dream of light
bent to earth in her feathered tutu,
face remote, smile brilliant

over the dying body as a lamp
illuminating a vision of fleshless
grace, an angel of bones gleaming,
pain as an art form patronized
by eaters of large expensive dinners.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 73, No. 1 (Spring 1999), p. 84


Marge Piercy Photo by

Ira Wood

Marge Piercy's eighteenth book of poetry is The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010 (Knopf). She has published seventeen novels, most recently Sex Wars, and her books Dance the Eagle to Sleep and Vida (both PM Press) were recently republished with new introductions. Her memoir is Sleeping with Cats (Harper Perennial). Her work has been translated into 19 languages and she has given more than 450 readings, speeches, and workshops.

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