(not quite) a literary journal


Isadora is Not a Nymph and Teetotaled, by Micaela Lacy

Isadora is Not a Nymph

I see Isadora Duncan hiking in the woods with an artist lover.
Just after the rain when the moss is especially green. 

Dora is dancing ahead of him. 
To him, she looks otherworldly like a nymph -- 
but she feels of the earth 

like wandering tree roots.
Tunneling deeper and deeper
each year.
Spreading movement 
to the planet’s inhabitants.

The roots spring free as she takes great leaps in the air. 
Landing next to,
but never on,

her favorite audience -- 
newly born toadstools. 
They’d take off their caps if they could 
as she graces their dance hall.

A starry veil falls across the watchers.
The rest of the forest is dead --
victims of the same trance --
they squint against the veil’s black lace

then flow across pools of water;
undulating aquatic spiders --
pimpling goose skins --
then crying at a bird’s song
as she dances.


I like to say that I’ve run out of drink tickets.
You only get so many in one lifetime.
The word teetotaler rings nicely in my ears. 

I picture a woman at a tea party surrounded by prettily patterned cups
of English roses 
and blue Japanese petals
full of Earl Grey, Jasmine, Rooibos, and Ginger. 
Occasionally she reads the leaves.

She used to sit around drinking 
now she sits around thinking. 
Her tongue a little burnt. 
But not numb like it used to be.

Her hair is tucked inside of a camel coat. 
She could be on the cover of a spy novel. 
Locks creeping beneath her collar. 
Silken hair slightly out of reach.
Drawing you in. 

Not so frizzy and unmanageable
and maybe a little less funny.

She smells better.
More like rain lilies
and less pickling facility.
Open to dancing and not crying
when the raindrops freckle the shoulders of her coat.

I always thought I had stage fright
out in the real world.
But I don’t think that’s as true anymore.
Don’t get me wrong -- 
I’m a little girl buckling her knees in silver mary janes at her first piano recital. 

I still shake when I feel pupils honing in on me -- 
but now I can feel the diva within step out of her dressing room. 
Not a seasoned actor -- 
she’s still got the need to please.

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