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7 October 2015updated 07 Sep 2021 9:30am

Fred

By Isobel Dixon

Forget dancing backwards in high heels and
     all that jazz –
I’ve told you before, I want to be Fred.

A sparrow of a chap turned shining black-
bird, magpie-tuxed, woodpecker heel

and toe, but gliding swallow-tailed, smooth
as you please. Mr Anti-Gravity. Impossible

geometries of flair and speed. No map.
I ache for the ease, the froth of her skirt,

the gloss of his shoes. And yet am sick
of so much breeziness, balsawood plots,

paper plane trajectories. She can fluff those ostrich
feathers up all she likes, if he’s in love

with anything it’s the steps. Sometimes
in a solo, there’s a glint, a glimpse – of what?

All of this perfect lightness.
Where on earth did you find it, Mr Austerlitz?

Isobel Dixon’s collections include A Fold in the Map (Salt). “Fred” appears in Double Bill: Poems Inspired by Popular Culture (Red Squirrel Press).

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