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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Prose Poem: 234 words [R]
By Valerie Fox

Playing With Dolls


I never played much with dolls in my twenties, or even my thirties. I had a child in my forties and sometimes then I would get into it, wheeling those babies round and round, rocking and lullabying, changing their diapers. We had a lot of cloth diapers that we’d twist around the dolls, bears, the occasional monkey. We lined up and arranged our babies on the walnut coffee table in a tangled game of solitaire.

My childhood lamb Lammy gazed down with her smudged, plastic smile, down upon us from her wide-screen picture enclosure in the sky. Lammy had gotten stranded in a heated zone in attic days. Everyone can see where this is going. Our only giraffe grew bigger and bigger. We drove this surviving tall one down the street with her jangly neck jutting out the moon-roof. The town cheered, fanning us with palm fronds. The town thought we might be moving in a new aesthetic direction.

In my fifties, after years of repeated false starts, my child was really gone for good. All I’m left with is this papery snowman. His breath takes the form of an awakening. Every seventh word out of his crooked crayon mouth hails from outer space, I mean by that from a time out of time. I know the father of this effigy and it’s not Zeus.

I miss you, my warbling child.

—Published previously in Juked (2 June 2019); appears here with author’s permission

Valerie Fox
Issue 2, March 2020

has writing published in Reflex, The Cafe Irreal, The A3 Review, Across the Margin, Juked, Cleaver, New Flash Fiction Review, Sentence, Hanging Loose, among others. In 2017, PS Books published her chapbook of poems Insomniatic. One of her stories appears in The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings (Heritage House, 2019). Much interested in collaboration, she has published stories and poems written with Arlene Ang in Okay Donkey, Apiary, Cordite, Qarrtsiluni, New World Writing, and other journals; and in 2019, Bent Window Books published her blended-genre book, The Real Sky, with visual artist Jacklynn Niemiec.

For more info, see Valerie Fox (Writings and Interviews) at Texture Press.

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