The Stuff of Dreams
If my mother thought having a Barbie
would warp my view of womanhood,
she didn’t let on. Instead she griped
about how much they cost. Forget about
the shiny outfits, the high heeled shoes!
I got the cheap Barbie, the one with hard plastic
arms and legs, no bending whatsoever.
Torpedo boobs, perpetually pointy feet,
bright blonde hair pulled in a ponytail.
My friend down the street had a Ken.
Better yet, she stole her brother’s GI Joes.
GI Joes were so much better
equipped. And so many versions!
Back then, there was only one Ken,
and let’s face it, he was a total snooze.
My Barbie could only scissor sex,
a whirligig of splayed legs.
The friend moved away.
I cut Barbie’s hair, exposing the back
of her balding head. I filched
one of my dad’s white cotton handkerchiefs
from the ironing basket, strung it
with dental floss, tied it to Barbie’s
fraying pink dress, and tossed her out
my second story bedroom window.
She wasn’t very good at it, so she stayed
in the grass where she landed
until my father mowed the side yard.
That was that, the end of Barbie.
Did Barbie alter my view of the feminine?
Ten years later, when I was nineteen,
my chute green as a lawn
against a cobalt blue sky.
Ann Farley, poet and caregiver, is happiest outdoors, preferably at the beach. Her poems have appeared in Timberline Review, Third Wednesday, Willawaw Journal, Verseweavers, KOSMOS, and others. Her first chapbook, Tell Her Yes, was published by The Poetry Box in April, 2022. She lives in Beaverton, OR. Visit her website here.