chocolate is a verb

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Tag Archives: Dolly

memory…Dolly

doll collage by Gracen Hamilton

The others, mementos of my grandmother’s travels, sit untouched on the shelf — painted and kimono’d geisha, straw man from Indonesia, wind-up ballerina twirling under a glass dome, wooden elephant puppet from India.

She is the one I play with. Her eye stuck sometimes in its socket, unable to roll with its mate. Her once-silky hair, matted and wispy where it’s been pulled and combed and brushed so many times. The little bed, made from a shoebox, layers of cut-up flannel shirts imagined as brocaded comforters, wads of folded Kleenex as a pillow.

I dress her, undress her, dress her again in clothes I sew or Grandma sews. Our shopping spree a paper grocery sack filled with fabric scraps from a dressmaker — silk, velvet, wool — dumped onto the floor, a deluge of color. Diminutive sweaters and skirts, lace-edged pantaloons, bracelet. A tweed coat for a girl from Milwaukee. A jaunty tam for a college coed from another era.

Painted-on shoes, flat-soled feet, stiff hard legs, splayed dimpled fingers. Dolly.

On her good days, my mother calls me Dolly.

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image: Gracen Hamilton