In Response the Girl Who Called Herself a Doll

You say you look like a doll,
like Josefina
Kit & Ruthy
Molly & Emily.

With your perfect round eyes
and rosy cheeks
and slightly parted, almost-red lips

showing perfectly square
evenly
spaced
teeth

and

your knee length skirts
and modest shirts,

you are the picture of an
All – American Girl.

You are a picture of
hope,
resourcefulness,
all American beauty,
freckles sprinkled across your nose
shoulders,
chest.

You are a symbol of
obedience, liveliness,
absolute
self
restraint

and perfection.

Your big eyes take in the whole world,
but your parted lips only say the words
that people are supposed to –
that people want
to hear.

You look like a doll,
but people treat you like a friend.

Sometimes I look like a doll, too.

Or feel like one, anyway.

But, not the kind that little girls idolize,
take on road trips or
read books about.

I’m the kind that doesn’t get a name;
the kind that is described as
Holiday Victorian Collectible or
Porcelain Doll with Teddy Bear

I’m the kind that gets set in a stand
on a little girl’s shelf
in the back of the bedroom,
and that people wonder

is it alive? did it blink?

Big almond-round, glossy eyes and
long eyelashes –
lips clamped shut –
keeping in the words that
young ladies just shouldn’t say.

To be seen.
Not heard.

And thick, long hair
that can curl
or lay flat
and be any color,
and any color will only bring out the
perfect paleness
that is supposed to be my skin.

Not a picture of much,
not an example of anything,
not a symbol of hope,
certainly not obedience.

A sign that wild children
with wild hair
and wild eyes
and wild words
should be made pale,
treated carefully,
put up on a shelf to show that
we only play nice with girls and dolls

that follow the rules.

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3 thoughts on “In Response the Girl Who Called Herself a Doll

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