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     Got myself a crying, talking, sleeping, walking, living doll – Cliff Richard,  1960


As soon as you see her you’ll recognize she’s one of them

by the bruises on her padded thigh, burns on her cotton rag arms

undone stitches on her forehead, hair full of knots. Lacquer

peeling and when you turn her upside down she leaks


secrets, confessions, life stories, all come pouring out,

the cheating, the nights she threw all those bottles and needles

into the garbage, sure-bet horses that ran last, lotto numbers

that never came up, unanswered phone calls in the dark


cops, lawyers and social workers with ears tuned to other

stations, how they screwed her, how she never had a chance

to tell her real story until now.  And you wonder, can she be

repaired?  Silicone, plastic pellets, injection of recycled innocence


surgery to bypass the heart-place where weariness and

disappointment clog her fibers, hardened fabric and sponge

that once were soft and pliant.  Maybe you could regress her

to some pastel organza and taffeta-skirted place in childhood?


It’s hopeless they say, she’s too far gone.  Don’t waste your

time.  You might spend months, years, fixing her up, carefully

scraping off old paint, grime, replacing stuffing, stitching places

where she’s coming apart.  All for what?  After you’ve comforted her


dressed her in shiny new clothes, paid for the best psychiatrists,

then what?  You’ll wake up one day to find she’s drunk,

overdosed, slit her wrists without a word of explanation.  But

compassion overtakes you, you’re drawn to this role of rescuer


remember a sick cat you took in off the streets, how he became

fat and sleek, would curl up on your bed and purr.  And there’s

this emptiness inside you, deep and dark, going down so far

that you could spend the rest of your life just trying to fill it


with any whimper or tear that comes by, any broken doll’s heart

that just might be repaired and made whole again to delve down

into that place where the two of you can rest, snug and warm

listening to that sleeping cat purring away at the foot of the bed.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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