The Old Woman Thinks the Doll Alive
She feeds and comforts her,
changes her diapers, hums a lullaby.
In rare lucid moments, she knows
the doll is not real – See,
her face is plastic, not skin.
The daughter marvels at such tenderness,
a quality not seen before,
believes a flood of blood swept away,
not just her mother’s mind,
but the meanness too.
Wanting to believe the goodness
was there – hidden – all along.
Of little faith, I fear the old woman
may yet revert – hurl her doll
out the window.
I can see it floating in the nearby lake,
one leg broken off. No matter.
Daughters of fish drape sodden
reeds on the doll’s bald head,
strands of hair afloat,
and occasionally, nibble at
the mermaid’s tail, her fingers.