Diane Lockward explores one man’s desire to transcend gender boundaries.
George thinks he’d like to play with dolls.
This man loves women but envies girls
their dolls and wants his own, no GI Joe or Ken
but a real girl’s doll, Miss Alexander or
Muffy, Ginny, Barbie, or an American Girl.
He dreams of a portmanteau full of doll’s clothes,
a purple party dress with hand-smocked bodice
and genuine lace, pajamas with pearl buttons,
black patent leather dancing shoes, and changing her
from swimsuit to gold lamé evening gown.
Most of all he wants a baby doll, not
plastic and hard-edged, but with skin that feels
human. Tiny Tears, Cuddle Baby, or Cabbage Patch.
He does a Google search, orders a baby
off the internet, a modern immaculate conception.
Nights he tucks it snug as an embryo under his shirt,
craves pickles, hot fudge sundaes, buttered popcorn.
as a drum, shifting and pulsing inside.
His arches collapse, his lower back aches.
In bed he grows restless, flops from side to side.
Electrical charges down the lightning rod of spine.
He breathes and pants—phh, phh, phh—as women
on television do, legs bent at the knees, and pushes,
feels the hot rush of water, the salmon-swim of child.
She slides between his legs, a perfect home
delivery. He bathes the petal-soft skin, like any real
mother would, feeds and burps his baby,
strokes the pearls of her toes, remembers
the dancing shoes, and vows to kill the man who harms
this child, pink and delicate as a tea-rose.
—from What Feeds Us (Wind Publications, 2006)
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