The Perennial End

Happy National Poetry Month from Stance on Dance!


I’d like to start from the beginning of the end.

Beside me is a lemon tree.

There are more lemons than I can pick,

and I – the more deciduous one –

feel responsible for all of them.

They’re too bright and fragrant to let them darken, wrinkle, rot and stink.

I gather more than my arms can carry, so I stow the overflow in my ribcage and fruitbowl pelvis.

To make room for more citrus, I remove my guts, promising to grow more.

Now my skeleton is a display case and I am uncertain.

The yellow spheres and their softly dimpled skin smile at strangers.

My smile is strained because the weight in my torso

is affecting my posture.

“Now I will make a dance!” I declare –

my hair thin and in need of a trim.

I wonder if you believe me, like you did last time when

the pain in my back or organs sent me breathless to the floor.

Once I had an audience, and I wasn’t there to watch them perform.


Today, when I fell from the sky, I did not land on my feet.

Instead, body met pavement and finally settled.

I lay, all angles, like a pile of crumpled one-dollar bills and worth about as much.

For years, this perennial existence has felt like the memory of many small deaths.

Eyes squeezed shut like tight fists,

top and bottom lash lines fighting to stay together – come what may.

Politely, white blossom scents ride unnoticed on Fresh Air’s coat tails.

Against all protests, plenty loud in my pounding skull,

white knuckle lids let go.

The promise of bloom helps me see my jumbled body as new again.

Golden warm rays made cheeks and mouth sun sweet.

Heartbeats each more juicy than the last.

Heart now ripe fruit. If I didn’t know better, I’d make a snack of it.

Dehydrated tongue like a lava rock finds water. Softens into snail or oyster.

Manageable now and tasting its cave.

There is dirt under my fingernails and behind my knees.

Black crescent slivers trace tiny night rivers as they flow in all creases, greasing up the joints.

This first movement feels like the way a seed must experience its ultimate sacrifice as it cracks open for the green that has outgrown its first home.

The movement that follows is smoother and has the wisdom of countless seasons.

For the first time, this perennial existence makes sense.


The end means a return.

The end means a new layer.

The end means there is more – much more.


Angela Mazziotta is originally from Florida and received a BFA in Modern Dance Performance from the University of South Florida. She currently resides in San Francisco, where she has presented her choreography at The Garage, the Westside Art House, Dance Mission Theater, and at ODC as part of WestWave and SPF. She has performed with Here Now Dance Collective, Cali & Co Dance, Palanza Dance, Yea Big Dance and Project Thrust.