Barbara Anne

Sown on the mist over rice watered paddies
spun on the spindles of ancient diligence
they sit around low wooden work tables
cross legged on rough mats
slender brushes grasped between supple fingers and thumbs
half an hour’s revolution before sunrise and simple breakfast
as outside, bicycles pedal through dawn’s gray streets
they bend to the long day’s patient labor

 

Passed from hand to hand down the bench
they take shape, the white dolls
quick families of wakening figurines
grow on to the porcelain, colored clothing is slipped over pale limbs
eyes pop open daintily, lashes flutter in careful thin strokes
lips moisten, strawberry smiles appear
cheeks flush, skirts and petticoats lace themselves
in perfect shades of pink and violet over chaste legs
 

The last artist pastes on tiny shoes, ribbons, buttons
hair clips, gay bows, necklaces, earrings
and on the flat white bases, a rapid signature
perhaps a name, a number, the date of the batch
my daughter can’t read Chinese
she thinks it’s the doll’s name
for her she’s special, one of a kind
she calls her Barbara Anne

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© Johnmichael Simon

2004

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