Stone Telling

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Ballerina Hippo Mippo

by Emily Jiang

Round things should not dance
Because we bounce when we should soar,

And when we drop to the floor
We might start an earthquake

And shake all non-round things
Who will hurt themselves

Because non-round things fall on
Their sharp angles

And non-round things break
Their straight sides.

Round things have no angles
Or, perhaps more precisely,

Round things have so many angles,
So many sides, that non-round things

Fail to see them.  But we who are round
Know that they're there.  Sometimes

What's most real can only be felt, not seen.
That's what really matters.  That and dancing.

Round things should not dance,
But that does not stop us

From filling the stage and embracing
The spotlight, which is also round, since

Round things are made of pure awesome
And we should be perfectly free

To dance bounce dance!

Emily Jiang has always been round, and she dances anyway. She has taken dance classes in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and she currently Lindy Hops when she can. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary's College of California and a BA in English from Rice University, where she danced with the university's modern dance troupe. She is the author of Summoning the Phoenix: Poems & Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments, which is not round, but it is still made of awesome. More at:

Photography: adapted from an unpublished photograph by Shweta Narayan. Used with permission.