Small Strangers

They were small but we pretended not to notice.
They washed their own socks, they had their way.
We adored them, we were sad to see them go.

When winter came, we discovered they’d cut
the sleeves off all our shirts and larded the furnace
with our manuscripts and what was left of the lace.
Then we realized their perfect manners
were just ways of making fun of us.

In other news, we fully understood too late
the strategy of jumpy psychos picking fights—
“you lookin’ at me?” so commands your gaze
that when you say you’re not in fact you are.

Things in the attic, of course, straddled our minds–
spiked nut-crackers, screwy nails and studded nets,
the little arsenal some previous owner left behind.
We practiced denying they were ours so often
our aped innocence made them truly ours.

Doll Dreaming 10

10. The Room Is Dreaming

the room is dreaming
outside itself
it cannot contain
or rescind
locked inside too long
there’s no more outside
no matter
how much room
the room has or
what room you’re in

the doll can make you
think the room is everything
can make it so tight
even the body has
no space left inside
can make it so large
that being dissipates
nothing in here
nothing out there

but something
always escapes
her needling
her hacks
turn on her
in her dreams

the doll demands
impossible recompense
from creatures who have
never done her harm
demands the last
rib bone and pin
she gets on
like a ratcheted clamp
to get her off
you have to
lose some skin

the doll is dreaming
she is looking out
but her mask is always
looking in
sizing her up
cutting her
down to size
no room large
or small enough
in the end

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