Francine Rubin


Form the body again:

Leg lines.
Feet arches.
Torso arcs.


Each night, the shapes
disintegrate, the body returning
to formless mass, to dust.

Each morning, begin anew:


With faith
that form will come.

Pointe Shoes

A flutter of ribbons adorning pink curves
culminating in perfect knots tucked into themselves
exactly, they taught how to conceal the structure—
satin binding twists of tendons and callouses.

The preparation for class repeated itself:
hair pulled tightly into a bun, pins sticking
fly-aways, curls restrained to form a circle,
gel and water controlling the crown of head.

In class, the face calm as the body negotiated
paradoxes: muscles moving in impossible circles—
each quadricep spiraling outwards, each leg rotating
beyond the hip socket’s natural expanse.

Thoughts were kept far from the viewer’s eye:
sharper revolutions; shave a quarter-inch off muscle
to create a perfect line. Swoops of pink legs, pale arms
curving like bells, belying muscles performing
their own surgeries—rips, breaks—to shape perfection.

Author Portrait

Francine Rubin's poetry has appeared in the chapbook Geometries (Finishing Line Press), the pamphlet The Last Ballet Class (Neon), and the David Mikow Art Gallery. A former ballet dancer, she now works as the Director of Academic Support at Roxbury Community College.

View the website of Francine Rubin