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Dancer and leper leaping across the stage
Feet distorted and deformed, twisted bones
And sculpted muscles, tight; pent up rage.

Spinning on a toe like a music box figurine
One leg straight, the other tense and bent
At the knee; muscles cramping, figure lean.

A puppet without strings, its master absent
The young girl stares ahead, eyes fearful
Her movements mechanical and her self spent.

June 20, 1999

Notes: During my third semester in graduate school I took a course on German Romanticism, and for my term paper I wrote on Kleist's ``On the Marionette Theater'', a text that---among other things---deals with puppets, the Garden of Eden, and self-reflection. Kleist's text served as inspiration for this poem.