Once more with feeling
I’m exactly where they expect
me to be, but hope I’m not.
Alone inside the glass at quarter
past midnight, I turn to the creaking of the door.
The others push her into darkness,
I hear giggles, gasps, see a torch burning cold.
I’m the bad news they wouldn’t want
for themselves, but don’t mind telling.
Inevitably, they call me Mary, the only name
left of the many. I stare at the girl, who gazes
into her painted reflection, eyes big and blue.
She’s a plastic doll. They don’t make children
like they used to. She utters
two words, six times, stops, lip twitching.
My own face has been hidden for years, stuck in here.
Say them, I whisper, once more is all it takes.
(originally published in The names of things unseen, in Caboodle from Prolebooks.)