The off-brand dolls had heads and arms that would pop right off. I had these and walnut shells from the tree that loomed over our rented house. Dolls are inadequate building material, unless you want to play at being domestic or play at being a god. My cousins and I were experts at both. So, I practiced poetry from childhood—transforming hideous-haired sticks into intricate systems.
Maybe what we play with means something; we grow into humans who have the spatial ability to form dreams or to shatter houses based on how we learn to interact with the inanimate world.
Dolls do not fit in walnut shells.
Even just as heads.
Kari Flickinger’s poetry and short stories have been published in or are forthcoming from Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Moonchild Magazine, Quiet Storm, Panoply, Milk Journal, Susurrus, Falcon Scratch, The Daily Californian, and The Inquirer (Diablo Valley College). She is an alumna of UC Berkeley.