The Catt Box


'The Last Dance'
The room was barely lit one night,
The studio was bare,
I watched you smooth your leotards...
While standing over there.
We played some music dear to us,
I watched you move in pain,
You clenched your jaw while you did dance...
Your efforts, now in vain.
So strong, defiant, gracefully,
You danced and turned and swayed,
The tears were sliding down your face...
The fiddler now was paid.
Your swan song dance, so delicate,
Like petals from the rose,
They fell to kiss the wooden floor,
No longer to compose.
You turned on toes so strong from years
From dancing since age two,
With slippers worn, the shine now dull,
And gone's the satin hue.
And still your tears through tiny eyes
Have fallen on half smiles,
You tried so hard to be so strong,
While dancing your last mile.
I tried to break the silence with
Some laughter from our past,
We gained some pace across the floor ...
We knew this was our last.
"Remember Peter's shadow when
I dressed in all those clothes?
I can't believe I wore that stuff,
All black, from head to toe."
The shadow in that play was more
Than just a part to me,
It showed how close our friendship was
How close it was to be.
We stopped the dance to shed some tears,
And held our long embrace,
We reminisced our days gone by...
I kissed your pale, soft face.
I see him in the doorway there,
He's come to take your dream,
I held you close, but bid farewell...
Though deep inside I scream.
I turned to face the mirror so
I wouldn't see you leave,
But in reflection's face I saw....
You danced yourself from me.
I've never seen such beauty from
That mirror's light that poured,
The ballerina in the glass ....
Will dance forever more.

January 27 , 2001  Copyright  Cathy Palmer-Scruggs / Catt Alexander


The Story Behind The Poem

In the winter of 2001 I received a letter from a girl who was a dance instructor. Her very close friend of more than 28 years was due to have surgery to amputate her leg due to Diabetes. She was very upset as to how to best help her friend through this tragedy.

We had a growing friendship through email and phone calls. I helped her to understand some things about amputees, and she shared her world of dance with me. I was trying to help her to understand some of what her friend was about to go through, things they may not have thought of.

One night, in her studio, her friend met her at the dance studio. They cancelled the dance classes and had the studio all to themselves. They played their favorite music and danced....the last time the two of them would ever dance together. 

When the night ended, the girl returned home and wrote me a letter of their night.....she even told me of their past dance shows they performed together.  I knew she was very upset, and I was very moved by her letter. 

When we finished writing for the evening, I composed a poem, in order to preserve their last dance together. I printed it out on special paper and sent it to her, to be framed and hung in her dance studio. I used the majority of the things she had written to me in her letter. She was touched by the poem, but never got a chance to share it with her friend. 

Her friend did not handle the situation of her amputation very well....and within a short time after her surgery, took her own life. My heart goes out to all those who loved her.


Large ballerina graphic by Whisper.