I lost the tiny porcelain
lion on the lawn,
and after the mower passed, its nose—
his nose—had vanished.
I became this lion in games—
our leader, judging our predicaments
(the capture of the headless turtle, Shy),
declaring where to look
(under the deck)—my face sore,
or gone, or stripped of function. After
my mistake, the lion
had perpetual congestion and couldn't
pronounce his Ms and Ns.
" I ab kig of the juggle,"
I said with authority. I wanted
to be real, to prove the world—
to feel my mind from all sides: two.
A LESSON IN DEMOCRACY: THE DILEMMA OF THE THREE FAVORITE DOLLS
Cherry, Lorraine, and I Forget Now.
I could only take two to bed, because my mother
(worried I'd suffocate) said four of us
would crowd. But I Forget Now (the newest,
who had not yet slept) would take offense
if not included; Cherry and Lorraine
would rage (balled cloth fists) if displaced.
My mother suggested rotation, an arrangement
I couldn't agree to. (But, intelligently)
she propped the dolls against my bedroom wall
(Cherry's face flopped twice) to explain her plan.
Each in turn she asked; then waited for my answer.
They raised many misgivings. For one I asked
what about favoritism. For another I swore
I couldn't bear the cold. Patiently my mother
offered them solutions (schedules, blankets),
and though I still stood firm against the plan,
each doll agreed.
"A Lesson in Democracy" and "King" are part of an attempt to explore the act of imagination, and particularly the imaginer's ability to reach outside the boundaries of self. In these poems, the speaker inhabits both her own mind and the minds she creates in her toys.