KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Micro-Fiction: 224 words

Mandatory Dance Lessons

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Ballerinas pas de bourrée in formation, but they are not together, so not together. The left ballerina wears statement green athletic socks crammed into her already vice-like slippers. No one notices til the curtain flies up. The right ballerina, disgusted, prefers protesting anything with less conspicuous biting of nails and nibbling strips of skin from her fingers.

As the corps cross center stage in a wheel of tutus, the right ballerina hisses, “What are you trying to accomplish?”

The left ballerina doesn’t know; the plan is just dawning on her. On the recross, the left ballerina whispers, “I’m getting a blister.” The blister is large enough to almost have its own intelligence, which would have urged the foot to stop dancing.

As they form an aisle holding wire garlands for the principals’ entrance, the right ballerina says, “Your shoe is bloody!”

“I know. The blister popped when I landed the last rond de jambe. I think I’m going to have to give up dancing because right now I am suffering for art.”

“Tonight or after this?” wonders the right ballerina, relieved this day had come.

“Oh after this. I’m not a quitter!” said the left, relieved this day had come.

They pique turn to opposite wings, the right ballerina screwing herself to the stage; the left ballerina drilling toward her future.


Painting: Beach Dreams, by Mary Hatch

Beach Dreams
Painting, oil on sheet canvas
Copyright © by Mary Hatch. All rights reserved.

—Reproduced from with artist’s permission


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