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  1. Culture
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,

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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?

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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).