Nisus​

Lianuska Gutierrez

“Dance is an ongoing quest for perfection.”
               -Diana Vishneva, Russian ballerina


​​

The dancer every day striving for perfection but not

                              

                               wanting to attain, be done, run out; yet wanting, if

​the finish is the sun god. Every day, limb warm at bar

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         pulling every corner

of the body that tautened in sleep, that winnowing

             by dream, the day in line of bellows for fly of chaff-

                                            what will not help go forward; scything off

what makes one falter, hits at grandeur, cause.

                             Heat rise, muscle crawl and glow

                                            to unbreakable taffy, arms out like amplify of butterfly,​

                                                                            plié on toes, inner thighs bared

                                           

                                            like a strident give, made natural: a peacock fanning,

                                            flared ruff of the dinosaur that ate the smirk in Jurassic Park;

like squat of cartoon dandy in coattails and top hat, legs so fine they pencil

                the way smoke plumes taper at denouement of

                                                             curlicues that twist subtle as a flock of fish, fin flutter: a

                               shadow man all black and long indicating setting sun, that

mettle of a swan song (:kiss of bundled fingertips).

                    And at the same time, a different view, the muscles

                                  staunch and etching out of nylon, show of movement under

                    like sheer wrap that covers worms, with bends and lunge up

                                                                                              to relevé; condensation, snug and all

                    the lines contiguous as honey bottle bear, then jump, ballon

float like Jesus bugs that walk on water.  Body with its separate navels, systems, without

                                                                           centers, all one, forte as a truck. The nisus

             joys in this, both halves: the body sweating, the gust of breath in winter air.

About The Writer

Lianuska Gutierrez Split Lip Magazine

Lianuska Gutierrez is a Ph.D. candidate in English and Gus T. Ridgel Fellow at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She was a 2008 Saltonstall Poetry Fellow.  Recent work is forthcoming or can be found in Umbrella Factory Magazine, Eratio Poetry Journal, Corazon Land Review, MadHat Lit, Counterexample Poetics, and Wicked Alice.