Paper Dolls
by Lucia Galloway


Something in me wanted to be bad.
I hung upside down on monkey bars, skirt around my head.
and panties flaming. I dreamed of spiraling
down the fire escape’s dark tunnel, kicking
the teacher who caught me as I spun back into light.

I made a corps of paper dolls
from cardboard backs of writing tablets.
Blonde hair curled at their napes. They wore pink underwear,
red slippers, or stilettos. Gail’s were much like mine, but uglier—
small waists, thick legs, black boots. Their garter belts
and bustiers seemed Amazonian, and their eyebrows,
arched and heavy, menaced their small faces.
I threw them into a mud puddle and dared her
to ask about them—favorites she’d lent,
wanting me to make them clothes.

Find those paper dolls, I wouldn’t. Could not have,
anyway, paper and water what they are.
This story’s telling finds me in the trap I set.
The Amazon I vanquished voodoos me, mini skirted,
in dark tights and boots. Slim camisoles for cleavage
and bare arms. A whip, even, to draw blood.
Kick-ass desires must now find guise in wit,
words to show there’s fire yet.






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