Katherine Collins

Lavinia onstage draped in red

the thread of her body / curves so the threads don’t
touch except where they emerge / merging at the
angles of her mouth / plumes of raffia / one
red one black / designed to be held like trickling / so
there seem to be no hands / she holds them like the
youngest majorette who / when she was
four or five / ripped her net skirt with
a heel as she jumped up too quickly from the
grass / long hours / trailing round careless heels /
light dapples / dancing Lipizzaners cut across the
crumpled paper backdrop / paper sheets held down with
masking tape / driven loose / the sheets / tearing off her
shoulders / above the light that shears across a
cheekbone / red raffia tucked in the waistband of a
net skirt / it snarls / the paper is heavy the horses tear it
crushed paper raffia tangled fragments / frays more
than it is supposed to / and there is no
dust / seeping from backstage / encased in the vicinity of
the light / and the light has form / more real than
the little majorette the dancing horses the raffia and
the sheets of crumpled paper / they are
the dust that gives the light its form

Katherine Collins is a writer from Bristol. Her poems have appeared in bath magg, The Rialto, Finished Creatures, Shearsman Magazine, Volume Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Anthropocene Poetry. Her work has appeared in the anthology Angled by the Flood: Poems about the Sea, edited by Elsa Hammond; and featured in Osmosis Press‘s ‘new writing’ series. In 2022, ‘They multiply their wings’, a collaborative work with composer Christopher Cook, won the Rosamond Prize. katherinecollinspoet.com