Burning the Doll // Cecilia Woloch

I am the girl who burned her doll,
who gave her father the doll to burn
the bride doll I had been given
at six, as a Christmas gift,
by the same great uncle who once introduced me
at my blind second cousin’s wedding
to a man who winced, A future Miss
America, I’m sure while I stood there, sweating
in a prickly flowered dress,
ugly, wanting to cry.

I loved the uncle but I wanted that doll to burn
because I loved my father best
and the doll was a lie.
I hated her white gown stitched with pearls,
her blinking, mocking blue glass eyes
that closed and opened, opened and closed
when I stood her up,
when I laid her down.
Her stiff, hinged body was not like mine,
which was wild and brown,
and there was no groom

stupid doll,
who smiled and smiled,
even when I flung her to the ground,
even when I struck her, naked, against
the pink walls of my room.
I was not sorry, then,
I would never be sorry

not even when I was a bride, myself,
and swung down the aisle on my father’s arm
toward a marriage that wouldn’t last
in a heavy dress that was cut to fit,
a satin dress I didn’t want,
but that my mother insisted upon
Who gives this woman? wondering, Who takes
the witchy child?

And that day, my father was cleaning the basement;
he’d built a fire in the black can
in the back of our backyard,
and I was seven, I wanted to help,
so I offered him the doll.
I remember he looked at me, once, hard,
asked, Are you sure?
I nodded my head.

Father, this was our deepest confession of love.
I didn’t watch the plastic body melt
to soft flesh in the flames
I watched you move from the house to the fire.
I would have given you anything.

anonymous asked:

And wasn’t it sacred, the sweetness we licked from each other’s hands? And were we not lovely, then, were we not as lovely as thunder, and damp grass, and flame? Cecilia Woloch, from “Anniversary,” in Narcissus

ohh, that one is beautiful!

send me your favourite quote/book/film

CourseMate with InfoTrac® 2-Semester Instant Access for Boyer/Clark/Halttunen/Kett/Salisbury/Sitkoff/Woloch’s The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People Free download 9781285056692

Jameson’s Antinomies of Realism. I thought he was a bust flush when I saw him speak in Helsinki a few years back, saying the same things he’d been saying thirty years earlier about late-capitalist cultural history only with ‘I told you so’ added and Hayden White in the audience to lark about with. But perhaps helped by the work of a much younger scholar, Alex Woloch, FJ seems conclusively to be BACK with this tome. The thing he gets but more crucially is able to express is the thing of one thing inside another. Realism critiques melodrama but also operates by doing melodrama, the gothic, and so on.