The Doll and Me
I hate the doll, its plumpy head,
its brunette swirls, its itsy cheeks,
its pout, its lashes, the uptight clothes,
marrowless arms, nerveless teeth,
its squeaking, the mess
it makes on the floor.
I want to detach the twee wee feet
and hammer it to the fence, drown it,
skewer it to the door, to say ‘this is what
has become of us’. Even naked
it makes me angry and afraid.
What if the doll grows? What if
it wants to take me home?
What if the doll ships are waiting,
doll planes, neverending
pink clouds and puffy oceans?
What if the doll says ‘I could begin
to take you apart’, and
pins a dress to my hollows,
paints me so I smile
at every beastly, devouring kiss.
No, no, no! I must throw it into
the ecstatic sky. Hook it to a comet.
Just like all the monsters,
in their filthy skirts, who says
it can’t crash and burn
in rapt and stupefying bliss?
I had guilt, not enlightenment,
and it was tight as ironing.
I had curiosity in curlers, bouffant outrage
a childhood’s bitterness with tomato sauce
a dip of Dad’s alcohol
when nothing made sense at all.
I almost felt like a man when I knew something.
Or a woman when I knew I had a secret to keep.
It’s one way of forming an attitude, along with
wonder or dread.
Is celery boring? Does it matter? I remember
that fried ice-cream wasn’t, it was
something like blue eye shadow, flowery ties
bouncy melancholy and a lot of guitars.
Almost as good as real spaghetti, or fish and chips.
In fact, so much better for once.
Sometimes I think I’m really a list,
a grocery list, a total of outlandish positions,
or impossible recipes. Mostly that.
Or a poem on a home-made card someone keeps
and forgets. Sitting in a box. Dangerous.
Lost. Unsaid. Guilt again.
About my voracious mouth. This daughter tongue.
A woman. At a table. Tasting
a name on my skin.
shadows and flesh seem almost at one
as we blink at traffic lights
how late afternoon air billows with brilliance
heat strafes our flesh, we wait here
for a signal, a reprieve, as the planet moves air
through shifty temperatures
we drain away, or do we, perhaps the weight
of summer is enough in west-facing journeys
as light floods everyone’s eyes
our figures wander cosmic gravities
gusts between structures play us, taunt us
with larger measures
sweat-tired, machine-halted, hoping
we could blur ourselves, let sun shroud our
bodies among buildings
they don’t see our hands touch, we skirt footpaths
our skirts murmur between haunting the heat
our own and the city’s treasury of breath
then you and I, and you and I
repeat differently into night, damp realignments
where weather finds us draped like leaves
together we make a foreign shape
vagrant, deflected, beautiful
we’re impossible birds, but after, in quiet
we’re truly allowed
take me to you, in our skin’s manner of radiance
to be as new as if what we carry
isn’t our traces but finally rain
Jill Jones @_jill_jones has published eleven books of poetry, and a number of chapbooks. Recent books include Viva the Real, Brink and The Beautiful Anxiety. She is co-publisher, with Alison Flett, of Little Windows Press.
Banner Image by Robert Frede Kenter Tweets: @frede_kenter.