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,

the space between

your ears,

a hairline, a kiss.

Only now do you

notice the tiny

dancer pirouettes

without you

on a stage of

pink velvet. Her

melody is a nursery

rhyme, notes

you’ve long since

outgrown, unlike

your forehead,

your shoulders.

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.