Sheri Ramsey, Dancing

            There is fire in the dance. The head of a candle burning and flickering in time to the dancer’s movement. The flame sways to and fro, responding to the dancer’s energy. Then the candle disappears.  
Blisters begin to bubble up upon the dancer’s skin; then fully formed explode with liquid fire. Screams of agony reverberate across her tortured flesh. Her cries go silent as the pain slowly fades.  The dancer becomes a living flame.
 So, she dances.  Each step scorching the soft ground, leaving little fires in their wake. Her legs ascend at an angle and descend in a spin. Hands clasped and rising upwards as her feet return to the earth. The fire trailing her movements like living echoes.  Enflamed arms opening and closing with billows of smoke expanding around them. The ground burns beneath her feet as she leans her head back slowly.
            Her face consumed by the flames fury; she attempts to howl. Instead of sound, rivers of crimson liquid explode from her lips. Jets of blood red water congeal into shiny flesh. First, impressions of a face form in the flat flowing puddle of scarlet goo. Then, a neck, next something akin to limbs takes shape.
The red rawness is evident but not painful, as she spews the last bits of the red liquid. Drips of crimson drops from the newly formed figure fall on the flaming dancer. The droplets sounding a soft beat and sizzle in rhythmic fashion like a drum snare; T sss T sss T sss T sss. The flaming dancer shudders in pleasure. The flames, encouraged by the dark moisture, recede then rise, as rouge vapors smoke off its’ figure. The fluid form expands further forming sinuous strands of cerise liquid hair.
            Pirouetting in a whirlwind fashion the dancer continues her ballet. Her leg rises again as she leans back. Her head, inches from the ground, drops liquid fire. Then she straightens her tiny flaming frame. Behind her the red watery body slides it’s hands across the ground, calming the flames, and leaving only scorched and sticky earth in its wake.
            So it goes with each movement the dancer lights the earth afire, and behind her the flames are doused. Each minute passing the fire weakens and shrinks as does the scarlet body. Until at last they embrace. The dancer’s arms rest upon her sides as the crimson liquid figure envelopes her.
            One more red stroke across the canvass and the figures blend perfectly. One color fading and bleeding into the next in perfect abstraction. The month long dance finally finished. The brush is rinsed then ceremoniously placed in its spot. The artist sighs, there is a slight sense of relief, for this dance is finished, but an echo of sorrow remains for this dance is finished.

Joshua Graff