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A Doll's Tale Tom Whalen

A bishop—tall, thin, with bright red lips—lifted me onto his shoulders, squeezing as he did so my tiny ass. Wobbly, I grabbed for his mitre, but found instead the face of a small child, small but with a mouth big enough to swallow me.

Inside the child's mouth was a street in which I stood alone while women lined the sidewalks laughing and pointing at me. Why were they laughing? I wanted to crawl under my dress and disappear into my cotton lining, but just then my left hand fell off.

Hello, I said aloud, more amazed than terrified. What are you doing down there in the dust?

Then my right hand unhinged itself.


Then my nose, my lips, my kneecaps.

My goodness, I said as I continued to fall apart . . .