Rachel Dacus, "What Respite"




     What respite from her thrilling toil

     Did ever beauty take 

          —Emily Dickinson


The dancer knows mid-air

the cost of a leap, 

and jumps anyway,

then takes her leisure

at the hard-won apogee. 


This is how respite cradles itself

in muscles and nerves 

of the hands in willful act of giving.

In passing food from overflow

to everwant as easily 


as finches trill, 

as music’s echoes 

rise and never land

in the sky’s white rolls.

As a cloud never works at sailing.


Rachel Dacus' books include Gods of Water and Air, Earth Lessons, and Femme au Chapeau.