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Dancer Stretching by Edgar Degas
by CLS Sandoval

Each day, I learn the steps

I work until my toes bleed

I remember as a little girl

how graceful the ballerinas looked


My grandmother warned that

it wasn’t all glamour

that there was a hidden pain in the

beauty and grace


I didn’t listen


I don’t think I believed her


But the ache in my feet

doesn’t compete with the

despair my heart is left with

from the loss of

          my grandmother

CLS Sandoval, PhD (she/her) is a Pushcart-nominated writer and communication professor with accolades in film, academia, and creative writing who speaks, signs, acts, publishes, sings, performs, writes, paints, teaches and rarely relaxes. She’s a flash fiction and poetry editor for Dark Onus Lit. She has presented over 50 times at communication conferences, published 15 academic articles, two academic books, three full-length literary collections, three chapbooks, as well as flash and poetry pieces in several literary journals, recently including Opiate Magazine, The Journal of Magical Wonder, and A Moon of One’s Own. She is raising her daughter and dog with her husband in Alhambra, CA.

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