“Mlle. Naomi Ethardo” by Grace Gorski

  “Ring No. 2: Mlle. Naomi Ethardo, the European wonder
contortionist
. A performance in which the flexibility of the human
body is
shown in a most astonishing degree.
  —Ringling Brothers Route Book, 1902

So rarely do people truly live
in their bodies—
feel the weight of your fingers
play the tension bound in your ligaments.

In their bodies,
muscles, synapses like harp strings
play the tension. Bound in your ligaments,
movement becomes music.

Muscles, synapses like harp strings
still thoughts. Time liquefies:
movement becomes music,
dripping from bone and membrane.

Still, thoughts. Time liquefies,
and the skin sighs in relief,
dripping from bone and membrane.
The human form returns,

and the skin sighs in relief.
Untying knotted tissues,
the human form returns.
So rarely do people truly live.

Grace Gorski is a bisexual, aromantic poet. She graduated from Hollins University in 2014 with a degree in English and French. While at Hollins, she published poems and the occasional short story in campus publications The Cyborg Griffin, Cargoes, and The Album. Grace lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she works as a preschool teacher. When she isn’t writing, Grace enjoys playing harp, working in her garden, and biking through St. Louis’ many parks.