When I was a little girl, I loved to play with dolls.
On Christmas morning, I would wake up
And a beautiful, pristine little doll sat beneath the tree.
Encased within those shiny plastic walls,
Displayed like a piece of fine art at a museum.
— Except, I could never stay behind the red velvet rope.
I snipped, and slashed, and cut away,
Until her plastic fortress was breached.
She was mine.
I stroked her soft, fine hair,
Feeling the silky strands upon my fingertips
And I whispered in her ear
“I will love you forever”.
She looked upon me
With bright blues eyes,
Rose painted lips,
And a compliant smile.
I knew she was mine.
And then I would play…
Yank the blue polka dot dress off her slender figure
And contort her delicate frame into any position I pleased.
She was mine to love.
Mine to control.
Shoved her into my backpack and brought her to school
Grubby little fingers reached out to play with her:
The girls playing dress up,
The boys playing dress down.
And now, her once silky hair,
brittle strands of straw,
So wild and tangled no comb could soothe.
Raced to the kitchen, grabbed the scissors
And hacked away furiously,
Somehow believing I could fix her
With the very scissors I used to break her protective walls.
Now found myself staring wistfully at the dolls with long shinny hair
When my mother took me to the department store.
Then one day, as I played with her in the backyard,
A leg popped off and would not go back on.
So I threw her disfigured body in the trash
Atop the rotting carrot peels and broken egg shells.
That compliant smile shone through,
Begging me to take her back…
— But I had a new doll now.
Years later, when my childish things were packed away in the attic,
I sat upon the park bench in my blue polka dot dress,
With shimmering locks cascading softly upon my collarbones.
And you told me I was your Mona Lisa.
You told me, “I will love you forever”.
And promised I would do anything to make you happy.
But then you started coming home
With alcohol on your breath and wrath in your eyes.
And struck me for all the things I did wrong.
I said I was sorry,
Promised to do anything to make you happy.
But it was never enough.
You threw me upon the bed with fury glittering in your crimson orbs.
Took me with carnal lust
That never seemed to ease the hate.
And left me broken,
With blue fingerprints imprinted upon my porcelain skin.
— And never came back
Now, when people ask me why I never let my daughter play with dolls,
Some things are better left in the box.