when salt isn’t available
dip into your eldritch supply
of stale brown sugar,
rub it speedily like a fly
between motor-oily palms
until the granules drop
like sand into the crevices
an old wound
a wound that didn’t need
much help in reopening,
the acute tang of which
one can savor even from here.
Every dancer, it turns out, is drunk and missteps
out of an abundance of caution not to miss steps,
stumbling badly this way and that, swaying
like palms in a nighttime typhoon.
Hand in hand, they reel like a weary wheel
on fire. Each looks lavender and fuzzy
to the other. Vomiting happens
with impressive frequency. The audience pales
in comparison, greens with seasickness
and womb envy, weeps, blurs, then gives way.
Half-dreamt calls to clamber up
from the cataleptic wreckage of ballerinas
and frowning clowns go unanswered by limbs.
From somewhere deep in the wings backstage
come hollow chatter, libertine laughter
and dysfunction drenched in unsexy reverb.
Cruel chortling from the company director and his bimbos
being confronted by the missus?
Or from the theater itself stifling the sobs
of its own jilted lovers? In either case, skulls throb.