Sarah Crossland • Aquacade

New York World’s Fair, 1939

Pinwheels, flabbergast, arms twilled into
starfish, a quilt of hands that grows again

from under the bullet-dark pool. Bath caps
bobbing, aquatized, splashy—listen for the chime

of cellophane. Above, behind the water-curtain
balanced in a handstand a beauty discovers

her dive. Gold-nosed, explorer before a new
world, she is en pointe. Tight as ice,

routinely curled and plunging towards
the hole the V-ed open legs have made.

What happens when we collide with a pattern
new to us? Rip entry, spangles swallowing,

the mandala of ladies untouched. She surfaces
as one of them—a body always lends

itself to rhyme. Winking, waltz-time, sound
roulette. The stablights search for the color

canoe as it wades its way from the stage.
You can tell it in the broadening applause—

we’re all the same when we begin to move.

Note: Some language taken from “The Rose on the Water,” New York Times, 1937

Sarah Crossland has received the 2012 Boston Review Poetry Prize and a 2013 AWP Intro Journals Award. In her spare time, she volunteers at Oakhill Correctional Institute and plays the harp.