Yvanna Vien Tica

After The Dancing Class, a painting by Edgar Degas

Dear Mother, I am close to breaking
            my head upon this wall

            that separates me from
our blooming spring garden.

Mother, I want to be home, safe in fluid
            sheets, feeling my hair wash

            over my pillows. Mother, why
did you insist on the silk flower, poofed

and shredded, to crown my waist? These girls and I point our toes
            downwards to where the floor sleeps. Mother,

            I am dancing into these girls. I am sorry
I ran through the flowers just to feel their petals

brush my skin. I am sorry I find them more beautiful
            in the breeze than girls leaping across the room.

            Mother, it’s getting hard to breathe, my waist is being
squeezed by two fingers, and I am afraid I will separate

from my stem. I am afraid to stretch, Mother, because
            I have seen the others lengthen into vines until the only

            things I see are their stigmas wound tight, coiled
around their pale slivers of styles. Mother, please, they

already whisper about my stiffness of leg, my body’s guileless
            refusal. They whisper about

            its desire to softly remain
upright so it can grow straight toward the sun.