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Wanda, the Walking Doll

She was all I wanted, a doll
that could move without my hands
to force her. The size of a one-year-old,
but her walk nothing like the lurch of a girl
on her own feet for the first time.
Stiff brown curls, eyes fixed —
dreaming of adventure?
Or merely hypnotized? Hard
plastic, nothing to cuddle,
arms pumping up and down
like a goose-stepping soldier,
head turning left and right
as if all she could say was no.
Her mechanized hips stiff-legged
it across my room, small metal wheels
beneath her white shoes whirring,
traveling the path laid out for girls
unless some bump in the road
tripped them, or unless they woke
and refused to wind up.
And in case you think she might
have vanished, here’s Wanda
on eBay, her proud owner
boasting of her condition—
no cracks, no crazing—
almost never stalling, still forging
ahead with her glassy eyes.


Mary Makofske’s book Traction (Ashland, 2011) won the Richard Snyder Award. Her other books are The Disappearance of Gargoyles and Eating Nasturtiums, winner of a Flume Press chapbook award. Her work has appeared recently in Southern Poetry ReviewPoetry East, and Calyx. A new book is forthcoming from Aldrich Press.


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