by A.M. Broadous
April 2021

You lift the lid of this box

belonging in a wall-papered home


            bursting with little white flowers


to find a pearl-lined mirror in which

objects may be farther than they appear—


            the snowy sheen of enamel, a hairline,


a hand to hold. Only now do you

notice the tiny dancer pirouettes


            without you on a stage of pink velvet.


Her melody is a nursery rhyme, tinny

notes you’ve long since outgrown, unlike


            your Easter Island head.


This girl still dances, the tune lifting

her tutu higher and higher until you are


            small, until you are nothing at all.


She twirls on one plastic leg,

sturdier than you have ever been


            in your life. So poised and perfect


as this ballerina pivots—not pivots

but turns—away and away and away from


            you with eyes that wouldn’t love you even if


they could. Will she end

this song, or should you?