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when the little girl steps gingerly out of the driver's door of the car, no one thinks to help her over the shards of plate glass that could puncture the ballet slippers. at least, no one in the near vicinity of the window. half are crouching under tables and the other half are curled, horrified, near the sculptures at the back of the pristinely white room. she doesn't make a sound except the crackle of glass crumbling beneath her feet.

one man in an austere black turtleneck reaches for her hand after she makes her way out of the wreckage, never once turning to look at the mangled car behind her. she barely looks at him, dusting off her sheer tutu and leotard before leaving his hand and moving to the center of the floor. he follows her at a slow pace, measuring her steps as if they're the answer to why she was behind the wheel.

she stops, looks at the smallest sculpture nearby, and folds herself into an arabesque that resembles the shape, all angles and sharp corners. the man stares in awe at her, the sharp cut of her ribs in bas-relief making the move even more stark than before. she pirouettes slowly, each turn making her change again and again until she's nothing but a still figure in the middle of the floor.

she bows, and turns, knocking over a stand as she leaves, one statuesque curve of porcelain falling into pieces on the floor. the gallery is wrecked in her wake, and the guests all look at each other in silent shock. one man with a dustpan and broom slowly crosses the floor, shifting the glass and the pottery into the same pile next to the smoking car, its hazard lights still blinking. slowly they begin to walk around the gallery again, as if nothing happened.

the man in the turtleneck makes his way to the gallery owner after the night finishes, one eyebrow raised. "i don't recall asking for a performance artist, but it seemed to work."

the proprietor looked back, surprised. "you didn't set that up?"

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wellownedbkup

November 2016

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