Dolls


By Elizabeth Kate Switaj

in grade school, my best friend and I
played Barbies, and they didn’t
give us issues
                        with our bodies
they were prostitutes
they owned the club
and murdered Ken
and we removed
his clothes, and that was when
                     they robbed him

in high school, she left me
crying in the bathroom
Friday night, a football game
I was in choir
I’d had to sing oh say
can you etcetera

she left me for a boy
the old story
he can’t stand you, I
would rather spend time with him
(etcetera—
of course I was unbearable then)

in seventh grade, we walked the park
and talked about the ways we’d kill
the kids who tortured us at school,
and waterboarding wasn’t everyday then
so we were stuck with the rack over there
the paper cut table, and the ducking chair
in the water tower

                               she added me, recently
on Facebook, and that’s how I know now
she’s a lesbian
                            and I’m not


Elizabeth Kate Switaj (www.elizabethkateswitaj.net) teaches literature, creative writing, and composition at the College of the Marshall Islands. She is the Social Media Editor of Poets’ Quarterly. Her first collection, Magdalene & the Mermaids, is published by Paper Kite Press, and her poems have recently appeared in Rust + Moth, and Really System.