The Doll Maker

by Laura E. Davis

She pours their faces, porcelain
legs and arms resting on every surface:
kitchen counter, night stand, her belly.
She sews cloth bodies. Assembles them
outside her womb—
these hundred virgin doll births.As she affixes the appendages, soft
white torsos accept their shape, floppy
body now an asterisk, a naked star.
The doll maker is thrifty, sewing
patchwork clothing from old sheets
or her own worn-out dresses.
Waits for her thick hair to grow
long enough, lifts the sharp
edge of sheers,
collecting every strand.

Her steady hand invents
each face: a peach kiss to the lips,
the cheeks—a breeze of pink.
When she finishes they line her bed
while she speaks a name into each
closed ear. Sarah, she whispers
to the smallest and thinks
she has her mother’s throat.


the-doll-maker_LauraEDavis_lgeLaura E. Davis’ debut chapbook, Braiding the Storm, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (2012). Her poem “Widowing” won the 2011 Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest, judged by Dorianne Laux. Her poems and reviews are featured or forthcoming in Redactions, The Rumpus, A-Minor Magazine, Sweet Lit, Super Arrow, and qarrtsiluni, among others. A native of Pittsburgh, Davis is the founding editor of WeaveMagazine and currently teaches poetry writing, translation, and recitation in San Francisco, where she lives with her partner, Sal.

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