When I was young, one winter night, I spied
A china doll upon the lowest shelf
Of all inside my ragtag nursery.
Her eyes, like reservoirs of tears, were large,
And beautiful, and deep, like stars at night.
I picked her up, caressed her sultry skin,
So clearly made with love and skill.
I put her down and left to take my sleep.
Her eyes followed me in my head, led me,
Led back with hypnotic power to that
Shortest shelf in that grimy room.
I picked her up again and felt the chill
Of risk run down my spine, I tripped
My breath caught, my hand slipped, and the porcelain
Picture of beauty fell, so slow, so sure.
I threw out both my hands to stop her death,
But my unsubtle fingers missed her path.
And as I watched she fell, face-first, toward that
Peeling, unfeeling old nursery room floor.
One blink, and she was lying there, her skin
In shards, her eyes so deep in shallow dust
The truest picture of true beauty lost.
I woke, and felt the cold fast sweat of fear
And tears of honest grief upon my cheek
I ran the little trip to my nursery,
To see the doll and there she sat, alone,
But still complete, her eyes so sad but whole.
And so I turned and walked slowly away,
In fear my dream should ever come to be.
I have not turned back in these decades since.
When I am old, and my paper skin tears,
When my eyes dry and I cannot find sleep,
I shall return. And she shall be still there
In that same place I left, untouched by age
And I will look, but still not touch, for fear
That beauty should somehow then cease to be.