One Poem by Annest Gwilym

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

shoes that walk the wire

on show nights my face is slick with pan-stick
eyes rimmed with thick black lines
cheek bones raw with rhinestones
mouth bright as an open wound

I wear a sequinned tutu and soft leather pumps
to grip the sleeping snake I must tame
show no fear   no doubt
smile for the screaming crowd

I learn to stand on my big sister’s shoulders
my suede soles grip them tight
as she pads across the wire like a jaguar
all concentration and stealth

he says anyone can walk in pumps
so I learn to walk en pointe
in ballet shoes tipped in thick chalk dust
tiny steps at a time   stiff as a marionette

he says I must walk in stilettos
you’re big enough now
red sparkly ones like Dorothy’s in the Wizard of Oz
at the end smile   click my heels

grand in red top hat and tails
black moustache taut as a highwire
white teeth sharp as a blade
my father the ringmaster
cracks the whip harder and faster


Annest Gwilym is the editor of Nine Muses Poetry.  Her work has been published quite widely, both online and in print. She was the Featured Poet in Caught in the Net, November 2019.

4 thoughts on “One Poem by Annest Gwilym

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