Paper Chains


Actually I feel splendidly. The operation went –

it’s over now, and this is how

I feel – nothing –

as a paper doll.


Zipped thin as children’s dreams scribbled in cheap spiral notebooks,

there isn’t much margin for a brain. My heart

(transfigured in the form of a pigbutt worm with a fat ice cream cone sticking out the other end; every micrometer paint-all pink)

can no longer beat faster or flush

fountains down the chipped stones that were my cheekbones.


And why should you care how I feel? I am a pretty doll

I come with thirteen parasols, a Yorkshire terrier, and many fashionable outfits

to conceal my straight flat underwear

from one side only. I’m a perfectly acceptable

paper doll: Look,

my smile

is fixed,

my hair rolls as sea-foam

(until my shoulders cut it off

wheretofore one must only imagine the lengths it would plunge to if I

were real.)


But I’m only a paper doll,

one which is pleasing to punch out and look at,

and is there nothing more delightful?


Image credits in order of appearance:

By Grace Drayton – I scanned this image from my own collection of antique paper dolls., Public Domain,

By Artist name not readable – Cropped and rotated from 1919 “Photoplay Magazine”, article “Movy-Dols”. Via [1], Public Domain,


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