ballerina, twirling

 

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

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