Bride Doll

The first and only Christmas I can

recall before they took us away

I was sitting on the far side of the

living room near the door, beside

an open stairway, removed from my

family as I opened my only gift.


She was small, pale, and hard

with shiny, slick flesh—except where stark,

grotesque angles hinged every stiff

joint, the only way to manipulate her.

Her hair was like black spun silk, coiffed

in glue so that to comb would destroy.


I cringed at her eyes, lifeless and cold, like lapis,

a stoic expression toward marital bliss.


Tears beaded down her white-on-white

floral taffeta gown as I blurted out

to my grandmother, It’s ugly!  But

what I didn’t say—couldn’t say—

was how she frightened me.

I was an ungrateful child.

I got what I asked for.

– Mary E. Kocher