by A.M. Broadous
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?