porcelain ballerina

by Nicole M., 17

I am a porcelain ballerina,
with limber arms outstretched, etched with daffodils.
I am an antique, carefully watched so that I will stay pretty.
There’s only one thing that separates me from the toys strewn across faded carpet,
missing buttons and tags–
they are broken
and I am not.
They are torn
and I don’t have a crack.
The daffodils don’t stop blooming and the stitches don’t stop falling.
I sit and watch my friends fall, helpless from a shelf.
I’m not with them when they play.
You can’t play with a porcelain ballerina.
She’s fragile.
She’ll shatter.
She’s meant to sit pretty.
I don’t want to be broken.
But I don’t want to be alone.
I don’t want to watch my friends,
the toys,
the broken,
hold onto each other tightly, afraid to let go.
So what’s the problem if I’m not broken?
I’m alone.
And loneliness,
as you taught me,
will break me anyway.
Rumson, New Jersey