a doll’s house


A doll’s house

gleaming copper downspouts and red tar shingles

a dream kitchen, smuckers, wonderbread and pringles

carpet, and padding. stretching from wall to pastel wall

new clothes, designer labels, clean empty tables

a cat and dog. the little girl spends her days in many ways

three square meals and a healthy snack

fruit and fiber, just what the food pyramid says

but an architecture that she lacks

one little white girl, and one little boy black

the parents long-ago lost to the family dog

dismembered,  buried and resting in pieces in the corner of the back

of the backyard, where lovely mah-jong tile headstones bear silent watch

every night, clean, damp, vinyl hair falls like finest floss

onto freshly washed and dried linen, still warm

dogs bark, and angry voices crow from somewhere down below

made reasonably unintelligible by the television’s blaring flow

muffled by the jungle-sounds cassette the girl plays nightly,

to ease hers into the netherworld, where no thing and no one can pass

No slights. No frights. Finally found, tightly gripped,


Strangers come and strangers go, laughter vapors from below

the mornings are always the most peaceful, but one can never know

In the eve, the girl locks her door and sleeps

waits for the signs, listens, the third step creaks

a pocket knife and a serving fork tucked beneath her pillow

her children smile and shine as the first day they were found

islands in the stream but she stretches and grows,

ever more perfect with each sunrise

she fears her little ones will still need her, want her

love her when she goes

every night, vinyl hair falls like finest floss

onto colored, cut-up tablecloths

scavenged and sewn from common dross

little cups and dishes, plastic,orange and green

from three square and a healthy snack

rubbed and polished until they’re clean

another nether evening falls, retire

a prayer for the lost in the corner of the back, sleep.

coyotes call, dogs conspire,

there’s  the creak of the third step

and it starts

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