The Rats of the Paris Opera House

by Megan Brooks

scutter across the stage floors
limbs -longed and gawky :
a petits de la rats. Stage
rats infesting the opera in 
a masquerade hidden under blue 
tulle. Rats with pointed shoes 
shaped like the speared snouted 
head which sprouted ribbons that 
twirled outward like the wispy
whiskers and scaled tails of 
unwanted pests. Lurking

beyond the wings in shadowy
nests stalk men of every shape 
and size in sexual unrest ; hands 
quiver in clamoring -capturing 
the veracity of the real unwanted 
guests. The ballet’s notes singe 
signaling the end and the begin
ning of the interlude and secret
private minglings of

the Pas de deux: a step of two 
dancing together as if in mutual
creation. A supple back is arced
over in forced submission: the bend
ing of a plié  -a  tutu tulle pirouettes
out in plummets -pillowing softly 
around knobby knees -falling over 
pale skin till it spills around ankles
- sitting blue in the wings -patient
in fearful waiting - the exchange

of monetary pleasure.  Bodies 
knocking into one another in begin
-ners frustration - the tip - tap -
touch of toes  pointing down
ward - raising the head up
haloed in the stage lights
the last sense of innocence 
crowned around the young girls 
head faded into blackness as 
the lights dimmed and the curtains
closed in the paris brothel house
Foyer de la danse : a night at the ballet

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