nails rake through knotted greasy hair, leaving parallel trails of bright white scalp and jet black hair from ears to crown. through the ornate mirror a string of pearls lounges over the tufted floral jewelry box as if they were painted there on commission, while she tames split ends back into a bun. “wipe that pout off your face,” she says through the mirror. she scratches harder and the pout remains lacquered like the ballerina that springs forth from a jewelry box. she fixes the tamed bun with a quick twist and snap. in the mirror she reaches for the pearls, lowers them over the bun. the chill of each bead sends a shiver down the spine that slowly creeps over each vertebrae and lingers as she surveys. now the ballerina in the jewelry box can spin and spin and spin for the audience.