This doll has a torn dress. This one
bruised herself trying to fly. It’s cold
where she lives in the white city.
This one squeaked Mama, Mama
for forty-five years. This doll
has its own doll tied on with twine.
They embody sweetness and gravity.
This one was cut from a Sears catalog,
dress drawn in blue pencil, strapless,
floor-grazing, aching, adult. This doll
has nothing between her straight legs.
She’s lost. No one helps her. This one
drips water through its small hole.
This one’s a martyr to hair brush
and arm twisting. It’s ready to die
and has been for decades. The dolls
touch a red oak for luck—bud,
trunk, branch, crown. They know
sunlight means heat, moonlight
means silvering. They know
how to fall, stuttering, stumbling,
pressing their faces into the dirt.