Dad, you look like a doll
I wouldn’t want to play with, boxed
in your casket. The mortician
tried to paint you pretty.
I wanted to be pretty, too, but mom says
makeup is inappropriate for funerals.
I thought if I sat you on my lap,
your eyelids might roll back,
make your eyes bulge, like you’d seen
a dead body. But the mortician says
your lids are glued shut.
What pretty eyes
you have, your cousin
tells me just before the viewing.
Everyone tells me
I got them from my Dad.
At my birthday dinner, my friends give me a doll from their visit to Germany. She looks like me.
A little girl with brown hair, wide eyes, and thick, black lashes. I cry
at the kind gesture. I don’t tell them
I love her,
I say, and rest her on my lap
under my napkin.
Later that night, I sleep with her
next to me, in case she feels abandoned
on the desk, and retaliates by shifting
her eyes, or saying my name.
just enough to show me that she is alive.
My lover wants me
to call him daddy.
I think it’s weird,
but I want him.
We never have sex,
but it feels like we do.
You died, I haven’t lived out the ages since.
I find a fuller body in the mirror:
a woman I did not expect—
whom I don’t want.
I tell my lover that I miss you.
I’m jealous of your dad, he says.
One night in my lover’s room
I have a flashback to your funeral
my small body
at the entrance
I am seeing you, Dad,
for the first time
over rows of empty chairs
my body is filled with chairs
I am heavy with the stench
of embalming fluid
I touch your cold skin—
you are still dying
as people fill
lays in bed
glances over my body and
your eyes shift
me on his lap under his blanket
he spanks me and I believe him
I call him
I hear my name whispered
calling me back to the reception entrance
calling me back to my body, and yours.