Cabbage Patch

I remember when I was small,

and blonde and quiet and all the other things I forgot how to be,

I would wrap my arms around a baby doll,

hug her to my chest and whisper in her plastic ear, “I love you, Maddie.”

I would chew on her cloth fingers and draw on her head,

drag her through the house by the tails of her nightgown,

and share warmth with her cotton-batting body as we laid in bed.

I taught her to swim so she wouldn’t drown.

I left her behind as I got older,

resting in a shoebox at the top of my closet,

the memories of our adventures growing hazier.

Like a receipt left crumpled in a winter pocket,

run through the washing machine — the dryer —

and found six months later, on the first cold day.

A well-worn, illegible reminder

of the last time you went out to play.

One thought on “Cabbage Patch

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