portion of the artwork for Meridith Gresher's poetry
The Narrator Explores Beauty in Movement
Meridith Gresher

The beauty of movement is that I don’t have to stop
to feel; I don’t feel I have to stop.
Stop and breathe.
Stop and think.
Stop, I am always told.
Stones are no smaller than the people who carry them.
People are no larger than glass
stones between their toes.
People dance as if they are free,
but they will not open. They hide behind “closed”
signs when they mean they are “for sale.”
They mean I am open
for a price.

My garters come down my ankles.
I open. My garters are blue as ice
if ice were blue.
Freedom is a cold sensation.
I licked the side of a flagpole in winter.
That is a story I tell when drinking
liquor with strange men who like
my tongue. I show them a spot
where I claim a scar
from frostbite. They pour another hot
round down my hot throat.
I am bored
though my hips are welcomed as liberators.

My hips tell my toes not to hold on to men
who cannot translate English song
lyrics into ancient Greek.
I spot a gryphon perched above the bar.
He woos the ice that is blue
that is my garter
that no longer rests at my thigh.
“You have fallen in love
with illusion,” I tell him.
He cannot hear.
He breathes my scent and hears
nothing but atoms exploding
in his eardrums.

I cannot tell him I cannot tell
if I am Helen or myself.
If Helen is me,
I would be glass
stone between her toes.
I feel my pulse. Nothing.
I am not ready to stop.