Hand-painted face like a Parisian mime,
she sits on the shelf
like a worn dress after a party gone wrong.
Her make-up still perfect—
because that’s what dolls are good for—
but the hair is dusty
from not seeing the sun,
not breathing the free air,
for many years.

Once, so perfect to the touch,
her owner’s hands tremble now
when they hold her.

Once, she thought
the doll was the world,
the French Quarter,
where the waiter called her mademoiselle,
when she felt special,
just like he made her feel,
when he stroked her hair,
touched her arm.

Like she did to the doll now,
but the glass hands are cold now,
feel brittle to the touch,
as if they could break
with just one careless move.

Like when her husband
twisted her arm when she walked away,
pulled her back,
pierced gentle flesh,
flesh that held blood
that ran cold for him,
cold for her,

through limbs she wished were brittle,
would break off,
just like the doll’s.

J. L. Smith lives in Odenton, Maryland. She has published two poetry books, Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments, Weathered Souls. Her most recent project is an heirloom cookbook, Cooking with the Smiths. Follow her at her blog at or via Twitter: @jennifersmithak.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Doll

  1. Pingback: My Poem Doll published in the Eunoia Review | J.L. Smith

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