the flawless ballerina
with a Lite-Brite life,
pirouetting in arabesque
in an open music box,
twirling til the comb plucking the nubs on the drum slowed,
til the key needed to be turned,
while hundreds of colorful light-up pegs
aligned in childhood perfection.
we glissaded across
roasted chestnut-finished parquet floors,
skipping over red kitchen tiles
past the basket-lined wrought iron baker’s rack that we weren’t allowed to touch,
to the antique farm table purchased in the Berkshires
where your Bloomingdale’s mom making the best of a K-Mart co-op
gave us each a tiny box of raisins.
All your light pegs in place,
you moved to the suburbs.
Your dog, then your cat–died.
A sick father, a broken arm.
A dead father, a broken heart.
One by one, your lights fell out, each lost, forgotten
under Ethan Allen chairs, carefully coordinated sophistication, and pine caskets.
I thought you’d dance over your troubles like the music box ballerina,
but your pegs of color were too scattered to retrieve.
Brown raisins will always taste like sunny winter afternoons
in an apartment scented with
dried lotus pods and dusky green eucalyptus,
the soundtrack from Grease! on the record player.
They’ll always taste like a time before
your drum slowed,
before you stopped pirouetting,
before your bright light was lost.
Rebecca M. Ross has been writing creatively since the early days of penmanship lessons and spelling stories and now has a BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English. She is a hiker, a Phishhead, and an educator. Rebecca lives in a small house that’s filled with people and pets of various sizes, and their many accessories. She has published both fiction and non-fiction on various websites but lately finds herself playing with poetry. On occasion, she’s been known to blog at www.rebeccamross.blogspot.com.