I thought my house was built on rock:
three-bedroom, semi-detached, en-suite,
wall-to-wall carpet, two-car garage.
But it’s shifted, revealing nothing but
a lack of underpinning, a shaky façade.
Mr and Mrs no longer sit in the lounge,
the cars are rusting out in the rain,
the little girl has grown up, gone,
leaving her dolls behind her.
I feel like one of those dolls
which balances on a point,
wobbling from side to side
when given a push. Pin-headed
and bottom-heavy, just what I see
in the mirror. Sometimes I’m more
like a matryoshka doll, with so many
smaller dolls inside me I don’t know
how to feed them all, or when one might
come bursting out, demanding attention.
At night I’m a frozen Charlotte,
lying helpless in my bed, crying
because I stayed out too long in the cold,
with only a party dress to cover me.
From time to time I try on a national costume,
imagine living in a yurt, a caravan, a tent,
all my worldly goods in my dowager’s hump.
I need to remind myself that the wibbly-
wobbly doll never falls over,
the small, smaller and smallest dolls
all fit back into the grandmother’s embrace,
Charlotte is only a long ago dream,
and even Barbie manages an afterlife
when I make art out of her ridiculous parts.