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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Ian Mullins


It tugs like a dog on a leash, desperate for the ocean. But the caller of the string orders it back again and again, dancing it towards the waves before calling it to heel on the shoreline. The wind wants it for itself, to pick it up like a stick thrown so far along the beach that the dog will run for hours, but never find it before nightfall. Between the two masters the kite is dumbed, dancing a routine it is oblivious of, for all of its eyes and fingers.

anchored afloat –
flying octopus swims
the cool sea air

But for the master this is all she dreamt of through five work-days: dancing with the wind's reluctant partner, miming freedom so devoutly she will not see how deeply her freedom resembles her slavery. She choreographs the steps, but does not dance herself. She lives by proxy, on the end of a taut string pulled into a routine that only means she is allowed to go on dancing, throwing the same shapes men and women have thrown since the planet first found its shape and pirouetted about the sun. Like her and her partner, it will dance till it drops.

dancer on points
between her toes