The 2River View 26.3 (Spring 2022)

Lenny DellaRocca

Boy at Play with Dolls

Why did you play with my dolls? I don’t know.
Loneliness maybe. You never
took them out
of your room. They sat
on your bed
like flowers
from another world.
I could almost smell them.
The little green army
men I played with
didn’t have the glitz
or scent Barbie had.
She demanded attention
without so much
as having a bayonet
in her hands.
Once, I barged into the bathroom while you were
washing your hair,
your breasts
dangled in the sink.
I wanted to wash
their hair, your dolls.
Wanted to look
at their breasts
in the bath, look
between their legs.
I waited for you
to go to parties,
“Soldier Boy”
by the Shirelles
in your hand. Girls
danced the Watusi.
I played with your dolls the summer I first got hard.

Thief at Play with Dolls

Why did you steal my dolls? I don’t know. Mother
put that three-foot
creature at the end
of the hall, remember?
The one with cold eyes
that looked out
to the Twilight Zone?
Scared Phil one night
when he came home
high on speed and girls.
He took it out back,
buried it under
that tree with the face
of Saint Anthony in it.
Why do some trees
live in yards
that haunt them?
But I think I just wanted to see them, your dolls,
naked. Needed to touch them,
because they twinkled
in their pinkness,
their eloquent,
still lives with nothing
in their eyes except
the kind of love
that whispered like
Princess telephone calls
between you and Anna
late at night.
I wanted Barbie
most, because she
sat in the center
of the shelf above
your crying bed.
I wanted them, your dolls. I think they wanted me.

Lenny DellaRocca is founder and co-pubisher of South Florida Poetry Journal. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including past issues of 2River.

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