Twirl with Me, Ballerina

I’m six years old
In my hands I hold a jewelry box with a golden lock
I wind the key and lift the lid
Inside there’s a ballerina waiting to dance
She stands on the toes of her feet
Her legs curve gracefully
Arms over her head like a crown
She twirls to the music
In her lovely lace tutu
I’m enraptured by her beauty
And her ability to dance endlessly

I’m 15 years old
My jewelry box is now full of memories
Love notes from grade school, hair ribbons, an old watch
My suicide letters for my parents and younger brothers
I’ve learned the golden lock doesn’t lock, it’s just a latch
To give the pretense of privacy
But my tiny ballerina is still there
I wind up the key
Open the box
And she pirouettes until the music ends

I’m grown-up now
Two decades have gone by
I wind up the key to my music
And twirl on my kitchen floor
Sometimes my young son dances with me
But then along comes my boyfriend
Whose need for silence
Ends my music
He keeps me shut away in this quiet box
Along with my ballerina
Where we stay
Waiting for our next chance to dance
Standing in the ashes of her tutu and my goodbye letters


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