When the Doll Broke (for Emma)

When the doll broke, shattered on the floor
What did she find inside the dusted shell?
Did daddy leave a note tucked away in the leg –
Some words that would remind her of a love
He promised would never fade like the linens
The doll wore everyday, no matter the occasion.
By the time she discovered it, would her heart be
Repaired well enough to beat a regular rhythm
When she saw his name or remembered his picture
Turned down on the dresser with the other dolls
Collected on his travels, now just dust-laden?
The good book talks about dust to dust, and this
Dust feels like the blood from his heart when it
Was admitted to the floor of a life left with crumbs
Of a plan, of a hope, of a stitched patchwork claim
Of promises long ago tossed in a barrel over the falls.
Now he walks down the path that had the better claim
Having blazed the trail back to that divergence
In the yellow wood. He stared down both again,
With a deep sigh, saw the trodden one and turned
Away from it, choosing instead the one his heart
Called him to take when he wasn’t listening, when
He thought its regular beat could not be trusted.

Image: Girl Accident Broken Doll by Henri Guillaume Schlesinger (German painter, 1814-1893)

And Dali Melted Into Matisse

How long had my heart been in pieces on the floor?
How long had I looked at the pieces needing a dustpan?
Mopping up the blood that just attracted ants,
I picked up the broom from its handy storage spot
Between the refrigerator and the wall, tucked in like
A child robot awaiting its moment to be a real boy.

Everything felt surreal, like Dali raised from the grave
His mustache in tact. Somehow, the ants began to march:
A retreat. The blood became mercury, congealing together.
Each piece vibrated on the floor until magnetic attraction
Thrust them across the tiles making a whole throbbing
Vessel that sucked back inside its ventricles the blood.

The broom robot boy turned his head and looked up at me
As if to ask a question it had no words for, so I spoke them:
“Make me a real boy, Geppetto,” and reached down to pick up
The newly formed heart in my hand. My chest opened its wound
As the boy whispered one word: “Home.” Inside the empty space
The heart fit so nicely and Dali melted into Matisse, dancing.

Image:
Henri Matisse, The Dance (first version), 1909, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC