Matte Skins

Image by Allie Hincks

When I was a child my mother made porcelain dolls
She arranged them in a semi-circle in front of me
She said, “Now, child, always keep these dolls in the same place as your body”

I thought it was strange of her to phrase it like that, “my body”
Which was so similar to the beautiful bodies of the beautiful dolls
But I did what she asked and kept them with me

I didn’t like them at all but they seemed to like me
Staring ceaselessly from my cabinet, at me, at my body
After my mother died, I stopped touching those dolls

I would not touch them but that did not stop the dolls
They were constantly finding ways to surprise me
Shuffling in their semi-circle, raising their arms toward my body

When I was a child, there were holes in my clothes that revealed my body
I think my mother took fabric from my clothes to make clothes for the dolls
Dresses she wanted me to wear but I refused, outfits for me…

The dolls have seen my body all my life, have seen me
Pinching skin, strapping flesh, sighing over my body
How jealous they must be, those porcelain dolls

When I moved across the country I lost one of the dolls
The same day, I was making a salad for my girlfriend and me
And my knife cut my precious pinkie from my body

They were mad that night; surrounding my body
In a looming semi-circle on my bed, were the dolls
My girlfriend clutched me, shaking, but they no longer scared me

I stood up, knocking all the dolls over. They had angered me.
My mother had told me to keep them with my body, but it was my body
I took a razor from my nightstand and glared down at the dolls

I put the razor to the wrist below my bloody stump, while the dolls
Lost their painted smiles between each lighting flash, and stared up at me.
They were back in their cabinet before I dared touch the blades to my body.

It is my body, but I do not know if they will take it from me,
My twin dolls, those beautiful, wrathful dolls…