Ballet: The Second Lesson – Pliés – Victoria McGrath

Squeezed behind my steering wheel
outside the church hall and reading
Billy Collins, wondering how he does it,
gets a poem from a child’s craft assignment
or driving past a cemetery or chopping
parsley in the kitchen while listening to

jazz, and here I am, bent completely
out of shape, trying to untuck myself
from deep inside a fur-lined rut, just
waiting for the worm of an original idea
to grub a tunnel on the tip of my tongue,
when out she runs, all tickle and tulle,

fairy floss on sprinting sticks,
screaming Mummy Mummy,
we learned to do clichés today.
Flapping like a flatulent flamingo
she shuffles in the dust until
her heels nudge close enough to knock

her own socks off, buckles herself bum-up
into something that resembles a perverted
thumb-push puppet, and squeals
I love clichés Mummy. And there it is:
the bestowal of a poem in a skittish pink
parcel. Then she pops a bow on top:

But they’re very hard on the knees!

Victoria McGrathVictoria McGrath is a poet from regional NSW in Australia who has been widely published in journals and anthologies in Australia and the United States, such as Australian Love Poems and twice in Best Australian Poems. She has been awarded in a number of competitions, was nominated for the Best of the Net Award and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.