In the Vitrine

In the Vitrine
by Theodora Goss

I gave you myself, and you set me
on the shelf where you put all your precious things,
your father’s watch, your mother’s wedding and engagement rings,
the figurines of Harlequin and Columbine
from some famous porcelain manufacturer in, probably, Spain?
Framed ancestral photographs, looking so solemn,
and an ashtray inscribed with your initials
in honor of something or other. What, I’m not certain.

There I was, in the vitrine, important enough to keep
in such a prominent place. But somehow, I became dusty,
faded by sunlight, like the embroidered fan your grandmother
carried for her presentation at court. I began to feel
shoddy, cheap, like a gimcrack prize you had won
at a fair called life. No longer myself,
no longer something I could give freely, confidently,
except perhaps to a second-hand shop.

I hopped down from the shelf,
dusted myself off. Oh, I was not the same as I had been
when I was bright and shining, when I had known my own name.
And yet there I was, not made of porcelain
that would crack or break — no, I was more resilient than that.
I scooted past the sleeping cat and headed out the door . . .
a little worse for lack of wear,
but not broken.

(The image is The Chinese Statuette by Richard Emil Miller.)

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1 Response to In the Vitrine

  1. Jeremy Brett says:

    That’s beautiful, Dora.

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