Barbie Doll

I don’t often write poetry, but sometimes that’s how the most difficult and painful subjects come out. I didn’t know what this was going to end up until I wrote it, a poem in 4 sections.


On display

Barbie dolls line the shelf
Different personalities:
Casual with jeans t-shirt ponytail
And high heels
Gala in pink sequined dress
Shiny slinky
Heels in matching pink
With a bow
Ballet with stiff puffy tutu
White satin toe slippers
Exercise in slimming nylon stretch pants
Athletic bra sewn into cropped tank top
Eyes focused forward
Blue brown black
Identical smile on dainty lips

 All in anticipation
Of being the friend of
A joyful young girl
Black Friday crowds
Clamor for first choice
Trucks cars dolls action figures
Video games cell phones
A slim petite woman
In the back
Peers at the line of dolls
Standing on tiptoe behind
Taller moms and dads


I’m in her hands
Hands that reached up to the shelf
Where I waited
I’ve been chosen
As her daughter’s friend
Satisfied smile on her face imagines
Her daughter’s excited expression
When she unwraps and sees
Her new friend
Cell phones ring voices call
Over the superstore intercom
“Mandy, come to register three,
Mandy to register three”
Babel of voices excited frenzied
Register numbers light up
Crowds surge forward
With their purchases

Long lines hectic employees
Scan each item
Credit cards store cards cash
Even checks which cause grumbles
A few seconds longer to wait
I’m smothered under a pile
Of kids’ clothes books action figures
Bought for my new friend and her brother
Finally I’m in a rustling plastic bag
Jammed in with other boxes and packages
That bulge from the sides and
Tear the bags but it doesn’t matter
We’re in the car going
To our new home

I wonder about my little girlfriend
What color her eyes her hair
Long or short is she skinny or tall
Longing to provide her with
Many hours of play
Lost in imagination
Creating stories
With friends other dolls
Exchanging clothes and hairstyles

Under the tree

My box is wrapped in bright red and green
Shiny paper covered with Christmas trees
And ornaments
And presents underneath
Just like where I am placed
After adding the bow and tag on top
Under the tree brushing the bottom branches
With a tinkle of ornaments set in motion
As each colorfully wrapped gift is set
Carefully in piles sorted by family member
Or maybe mixed up for more surprise
Now I need to wait
Encased in this wrapping nothing to see
Hearing voices, running steps
A light scolding when a child grabs a gift
And shakes it to figure out what it could be
They can see our wrappings
We can hear their voices
I hope it won’t be long

Time goes by daily routines
Morning rush of voices activity
Kids getting ready for school
Parents for work
Serving and eating breakfast
Cereal or oatmeal eggs bacon toast
Orange juice coffee milk
Putting on coats hats boots
Grabbing backpacks purses briefcases
Happiness in the chatter
Anticipation of the holiday
Vacation from school
Singing carols eating cookies
Setting out a treat for Santa
And his reindeer
Playing games laughing joking
Sometimes arguing but
Always making up
Happy family


The nighttime is quiet
Then Friday arrives the last day
Of the school week
Just like any other except
It’s almost Christmas and
The children are exuberant impatient
Longing to see what’s under the tree
Waiting for them

Again the clamor of breakfast getting ready
The footsteps of brother sister mom dad
All going one way or a different way
Finally out the door
There is quiet

This quiet is different
There is sadness in it
There is terror
Phones ring insistently cell phone wall phone
Footsteps slamming doors
Screaming crying
She will never come
She will never see me
I will have no new friend
I remain here
Under the tree
A reminder untouched
Unthinkable despair
Parents weeping
Retelling the story
Over and over
Brother talking through choked back tears
He was there but he didn’t see
The carnage in first grade
Principal and teachers on the floor
Trying to protect the children
Description of gunfire
Blood everywhere
Twenty children
Who will never have Christmas
My little girl who
Will never see me play with me
Agony longing loneliness
I lie here unseeing useless
I will end up discarded

I’ve been picked up
Along with other gifts
For the little girl
We are driven in the car
To the school
A memorial
Toys teddy bears flowers
All piled up in the cold
Dolls and racecars that were cherished
Fluffy stuffed animals
With Christmas collars
Never to be hugged
Unwrapped gifts
Like me
Added to the pile
Unwrapped gifts placed
By parents who
Couldn’t bear to
Open us see us remember
Their excitement anticipating
Watching their children on Christmas morning
Parents who
Leave us for their children
To open, perhaps,
In heaven.


I couldn’t even pretend to fathom what parents and families in Newtown have been going through. So I had to write it from a different point of view and as I said, instead of prose, it ended up being a freestyle poem. I don’t mean to minimize the feelings of pain and grief of those close to these children by using a doll’s point of view. But I was thinking about the personal things, the Christmas without them, the already bought presents wrapped under the tree. How have these parents dealt with these objects of holiday tradition? And as a mom, I thought of what I would do. This was the anonymous story of any one of those families that lost a little girl, or little boy, to senseless death.

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