Dancing the flightless foxtrot


Threadbare and belittled, I stand as you look at me with eyes of expectance. Indebted to you because I am myself—as if my existence can be doled out, an allowance to those eager. With repulsion painted on my nails and a jaw that I can’t clench hard enough, I’ll take your hand. We’ll dance. You’ll smile, and I’ll sigh.

Not of relief, never of relief. 

This bird nest bond you’ve built for us is lacking in all areas. Exposure blanketing my shivering shoulders as I stand before you, my discomfort making a home in the nest before me. A repetition of regurgitation becoming less random and more orchestrated. Secrets hiding expectantly with cracks preceding their purpose. You’ll greet them with a song, but they’ll always come from something shattered.

Then, you’ll let them fall and watch their wings do the same. Those wings so deformed with inexperience yet beautified by potential. Those wings so dainty, yet you found weakness in their sores—never giving them a chance to soar. 

We’ll continue to dance, and I’ll tip-toe as I trace the floor, tenderly treading past broken shells and wings that won’t fly. You wouldn’t let them fly. You forced them to the ground. Plummeting, they found betrayal in their wings. The wings I gave them. The wings that wouldn’t fly.

My empathy casts a shadow on my wings lying harrowed when they should be the ones casting shadows on my approval and pride. Instead, your disapproval takes flight.

You’ll fly through the dance with me in your talons. I’ll flutter, keeping up but never more. My flight too faulty—weighed down by my beautiful creations cracked and cracking under me, tied to me by a heavy rope uncut. Uncut because I can’t bear to soar. Uncut because I can’t bear to soar when you could bear to see them soar to the ground. 

I wonder how I ever expected to hope. I hoped to see them fly, but how could they when their origin is tainted with unoriginality. How can they be themselves in a place you made for you and only you. I wonder how you ever expected to hope. How could you hope to see them maniacally mangling trying to manifest mastery in a minute? 

I suppose you never did. After all, you built this nest for you to prosper in. You aren’t hope, and you aren’t hopeful. It was a mistake for me to think you were.

Hope is on the horizon. I can see it. I can see it when I perch in the nest desolate of my desire. I can see it when I look past your talons. I can see it when I can’t see you. 

I want to see it in you, but I never will. Danger lurks in eyes that see hope in the void, so I’ll only look at hope and never at you.

I’ll hope, and I’ll dream, and I’ll think of flying toward those hopes and dreams.

But, I won’t.

I can’t.

I can’t because I am indebted to you. I’m indebted to you because I am myself, and so I’ll stay. I’ll dole myself out to you, each distribution a robin’s egg blue. Each distribution a dream. You’ll take these dreams and push them before they’re ready. You’ll watch them fall, and I will too. 

I’ll dance with you forever in the graveyard of my dreams, wondering how I ever mistook you for anything but a nightmare.