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 space between your ears,
the snowy sheen of enamel, a
hairline, a kiss.
Only now do you notice the tiny
dancer pirouettes without you
on a stage of pink velvet. Her
melody is Christmas or a birthday
or the Fourth of July. What day
is it? Where have you gone?
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, and you just hope
the music stops.