We keep her in the living room, the dust never seems to go away. Her eyes shut tight, a dead animal, a smile sleeping on her red, red lips. She has no knowledge of me, no cares, no thoughts about a daughter who watches her, waiting for the dawn, for midnight. We live in a doll’s house.

I have tipped the glass coffin, rolled it completely over once—I am sure it was enough to dislodge a bite of apple or the laughing death inside her. I have sucked each of her fingers in turn, hoping for flax or a bit of broken spindle to choke me—sometimes her fingertips split, bloodless, and when he notices Father uses the finest of stitches to piece them back together. He never questions me.

Sometimes I open the coffin and kiss her mouth.

My breath fogs the glass, I stare at her unchanging face. I age each moment and she stays the same. Soon we will be the same age. Soon I will be older than my mother. Father’s hair is already gray.

Brittany Warman is a PhD candidate in English and Folklore at The Ohio State University, where she primarily works on the intersection of folklore and literature. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming from Mythic Delirium, Ideomancer, Stone Telling, and others.

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