The Red Shoes

by Sharon Ashton

Tap, tap, tapping
I wait
between bed and chair
without warning
they are here,
and greedy,
I strap them on,
criss-crossing blooded ribbons
about each ankle,
all the time
tap, tap, tapping
teasing-out rhythms
the music comes,
and I dance
on toes
too soon?
Too late−
I’m out
through the window
up, up, up against the moon
to jeté with cow and dish and spoon,
dipping down to clash with Dawn,
do-se-do John Barleycorn,
set pas de bas to puffins at sea, 
scarlet toe to scarlet beak,
without warning,
I am shoe-less again
between bed and chair,
feet ribbon-cut and burning,
tap, tap, tapping,