Paranoia (Pas de Deux)

You like me less. I’m keeping track.
As a baby ballerina, every movement

stalled out at discipline. I had a feeling for the music
but not for myself, not without

a mirror. I’m not saying I believe
in the indubitable I

they keep requesting I wear,
only that a tutu is beautiful, delicate

and sharp-edged. And heavier than you’d think.
The mirror, like the partner, shows the line.

Any curtain could have drawn back
and I’d have curtsied. Maybe I still do.

Always wished to learn dance
notation, as if a metalanguage could give

my submission teeth. A blue fluency
trained me against me.

I’m telling you, dancer, poet, scholar,
it’s all the same. If you can’t

convince me other
-wise, what are we doing here

in this mismatched duet? I swear I noticed
the texts becoming intermittent. I pointed

my feet until the tendons gave out.
And then I dreamed of same, forever.

Mia Kang is the author of the pamphlet City Poems (ignitionpress, 2020). She was named the 2017 winner of Boston Review’s Annual Poetry Contest and a finalist for the 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. Her poetry has appeared in journals including POETRY, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and PEN America. She has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Mia teaches at Cooper Union and Hunter College, CUNY, and she is completing a PhD in the history of art at Yale University.