Mothers

by Kylan Rice

Her dance
is a ribbon tugged
from undone hair.

She is merely practicing
on an empty stage. It is how
she laces up her flats, the tight
rhythm of tied knots,
late swallow of her hands.

With the slow uncurling seashell
of the first violin note
she is casting something off.
Piccolo notes tucked
behind her ear, tuned
to this unpeeling of her skin
as if she were a sunset, bones worn
down like hot months, until you can see
the tidal pull of each muscle.

How is it that
she can unravel herself so,
and bind me up—
this danced tourniquet,
until I can barely breathe.