For a time, I was a ballerina.
On Saturdays, my mother pulled my
wild hair into sleek, poofy buns.
My temples stung by the end of class but it didn’t matter.
I was a ballerina,
one of the watercolor girls in the bedroom wallpaper.
Mom would run a dry mascara brush over my stubby lashes,
and the brush would tickle and I would try not to blink.
A girl transformed, pirouetting in every buffed window –
the black, stretchy leotard with pills around the bottom
opaque white stockings pooling around my ankles
itchy pink tulle that flounced when I jumped
pink slippers with no ribbons just
soft tan bottoms and a band of rosy elastic –
I still look in mirrors,
looking for that little ballerina, twirling.
By Kelsi Long