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Traces



A mother and son, holding hands at a fair
the glaring sun glinting like stars in their hair
with candy a sticky veneer on their faces
and dull summer days ahead
leaving no traces.

They halt at a theater of Indian dance
where golden waifs leap, their fierce gazes askance
as they survey the crowd for the wild, the tame
but each blank expression
looks wholly the same.

The little boy points out a girl with a mask
black curls whipping up, feet alive with the task
of spinning and twisting to entertain
and to have a true passion
and make one's own name.

Glory, and beauty, and magic converge
in every soft gesture and every last swirl
and then, with the straw of a drink at his lips
he swears to be like her
and takes a few sips.

His mother beside him is still and remote
her slender hands tight on her black leather tote
for there was a time when she practiced all day
to be lovely and graceful
and join the ballet.

But something occurred during many years hence
a loss of her youth, or a jump of a fence
and among her new son, and the stress, and the strain
the pretty pink toes
went a-swirl down the drain.

A firefly flitting across the dim stage
the young dancer pauses a moment to gauge
the number of people that stand in the crowd.
Enough for her dinner?
She pulls down her shroud.

The red curtains swish, the performance is done
a loud, hearty encore from everyone
rings out in the velveteen blanket of night
while maintenance enters
to flick on the lights.

A mother and son, holding hands in the dark
pass through the fair's gates and head on toward the park
each dreaming of separate and faraway places
where dancers can dance
without leaving their traces.
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Submitted on May 01, 2011

1:34 min read
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Joelle Nanula Claim this poet

Hey guys!My name is Joelle, and I am an eighth-grader living in Southern California. I have multiple interests, including music, linguistics, and writing, but poetry is by far my favorite. I have been frustrated for a long time by my inability to achieve anything in the poetry realm; I'm one of those teens that has a billion goals but doesn't have the work ethic to reach them; so I'm hoping some of my poems will be found here. As for my flaws, I'm terrible at sports, math is my abhorrence, and I wouldn't be able to tell Japan from Africa on a map. (Aka, I'm horrific at geography and navigation.) Thanks so much for reading! Love ya! Also, if Nick Jonas ever reads this, you're the coolest and most self-actualized person on Earth!Notes About My Poetry:1. "Traces" and "Wandering Hearts" are by far the best poems in my collection thingy, so read 'em!2. There are a bunch of short, meaningless poems here too, so skip past them until you reach the good ones.3. I did take some leaps in posting my more private poems here. Please be sensitive.4. "Always a Choice" is dedicated to all the girls out there who are feeling insecure, or have daunting things going on in their lives right now. I know a couple of people who inspired this poem, and I hope they will understand its meaning and find the courage to carry on.5. I am going to be frequently updating this page, but since only fifteen poems can remain here at a time, I have chosen "Always a Choice," "These Sunsets," "One Memory," "Girl With The Blue Barrette," "Traces," "Wandering Hearts," "What Is Life?," "Forces Within," "The Test of Time," "Snapshots," and "Another's Skin" to be my eleven permanent poems. Therefore, the other four will always be rotating. Gracias!New Additions: - "One," which recently replaced "Flying Away," is about the deep, spiritual way in which every living creature is connected, no matter how removed from one another we may seem.- "Like Starfall" makes absolutely zero sense; don't worry, I'm not dumb. It's just an outpouring of thoughts, and mostly, the emotion you get when sitting alone under the stars and breathing in the clear, cool, delicious air, and you feel like your stomach is flying, and you almost start to cry a little bit because the night is so unnaturally beautiful. You know what I'm saying? Yeah I know, it's a totally weird poem. I'm not gonna leave it up here for very long.- "The Painter" is sort of a deep-ish poem about how, even when rejected by the rest of the world, a person can be happy. Such is the case with the painter, who is ultimately either very old or mentally impaired, but is still content to sit in his yard and paint despite what others think. more…

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    "Traces" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 27 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/89317/traces>.

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