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Richard Jones​

The Ballerina


Whenever I happen to think of my mother, 

I also recall the small porcelain ballerina—

forever on point, lissome and graceful—

behind the glass door of the China closet.

The ballerina was the first woman I loved. 

Fragile, enchanting, and tiny as a butterfly,

her beauty was always present in the house

as if she were a willowy spirit or a grace note

dimly ringing those days I sat with mother, 

struggling for words to explain how I felt.  


When I finally asked my mother about it—

I was a teen and suddenly full of questions—

she didn’t know what I was talking about. 

“Ballerina?” I had to get up, tap on the glass,

the glass so thin it chimed softly as a bell.

The ballerina looked up at me. I saw again

the tiny flowers at her feet. I steadied myself. 

“Oh that. Your father found her after the war.

It’s real Dresden porcelain. He always loved 

little things like that, so hopelessly delicate.”

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