Issue 4,  Poetry

The Ballerina in the Attic by Amanda N. Butler

In an attic forgotten,
white sheets blanket sofas and seats
concealing the upholstery’s golden embroidery – 
the shape of a dormant astrolabe
silhouetted in shadow – 
in a corner forgotten,
a life-sized doll sits
with dust in her eyes,
a faded stare toward
the rusted bolt
jutting from her point shoe – 
protruding from her cobweb and copper
shoulder blades, a clockwork key.
Her own music, if it could still play,
would give her nightmares
of abandoned carousels
and ivy crawling across
funhouse entrances.
A crack in the faded
rouge of her cheek
reveals a crevice
with contours of cranks and springs,
the ripped tulle at her hip
interlace with spider corpses.
The lace at her neck has loosened – 
and her costume,
once a vibrant hue,
now a transmutation of gray and yellow.
the oil inside her no longer burns,
her steam no longer breathes – 
a dry alchemy.
If awake, she would long
for the day to dance again.


Amanda N. Butler is the author of chapbooks “Tableau Vivant” (Dancing Girl Press, 2015) and “effercrescent” (Dancing Girl Press, 2017) as well as “How a Fairy Gets Her Wings” (Origami Poetry Press, 2018). Her poems have been published in Haikuniverse, Hedgerow, Leaves of Ink, and others. She is the Poet Laureate of Oldsmar, FL and can be found on Twitter @arsamandica.

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