portion of the artwork for Helen Wickes' poetry
Nude Barbie Dines at Stellina’s
Helen Wickes

At least eleven of them settle in,
                the small girl’s got a Barbie naked
save for underpants and red hair, luxuriant and streaming
                to the little arched toes. The kid

wraps the hair around the pointy breasts,
between the rigid legs, eagerly locating
                new places. The mother fidgets, the father
queries the wine list. They order up oysters, splash them
with lemon, and salt, Tabasco,
lustily slurping the brine.

A bored brother grabs and twists the doll’s legs
                behind its tiny ears, other brother snatches it,
wrapping its body with its voluptuous hair. Later, dessert,
brandies. Much yelling, an uncle

storms out, a teen films everything on her phone,
                another madly texting. Grandma snatches the doll
from an aunt, turns its face to the table, jumps it—
                her?—up and down, whole family

hollering—sorry I don’t know their language—the mother,
sullen all evening, snatches the awful doll,
                mummifies it in her napkin, hurls it at grandfather,
and just when you think—oh families, such joy, now mom

will rush away sobbing
, but no, she arises very slowly
stares at each of us, one by one, straight in the eye,
                and blank-faced, glides very slowly
out of the room, the building, into the evening.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 35 | Winter 2012