Packed in collapsing boxes in my father’s attic, and closed
in drawers with flowery handles, beside the bed where I learned how
to bawl. The theatrics of suffocation in disheveled sheets. Some of the
dolls, their faces wrapped in paper towels. Some of the dolls, their heads
falling off. Some with insects’ lacework across the aprons, or holes in their
hollow torsos, limbs carried off by the dog. I used to pull a doll’s puffy
undergarments down and feel disappointed, or perhaps, confused, to see
only smooth. I used to shove a doll’s hips back into her semi-circle stand,
after bending her at the waist, or toying with her hair: the equivalent of
play, for dolls on display. For years, they lined the heart-shaped shelves in
my room. Gradually, dust, like tiny gray curls, pearled in each outfits’ folds.
Long lashed, bud-mouthed, petite, and dumb, every one. I began to feel
it—had had enough of their childishness, and packed them away—not long
before I was touched by the man three times my age. Not long before my
body on the bench seat shook; before, in forest dark, my body burned. Then
it went into a box, too.
From The Miraculous, Sometimes by Meg Shevenock, © 2020. Reprinted with permission from Conduit Books & Ephemera.