|Jan/Feb 2016 Poetry Special Feature|
Artwork by Karen Fox Tarlton
I Confide in Golden Dream Barbie about My Divorce
Neither one of us brings up how I left her
without looking back, so much unspoken
between us. She knows that I loved her best
only because she was the last Barbie
I owned before I moved, at eleven years old,
to the upstairs bedroom and cleared out the town
I had created for them there. Her neighbors
would have been Superstar Barbie, my favorite
before her, and possibly a mid-70s Malibu P.J.
I don't ask her after them, though there
are probably things she could tell me.
As we talk, I see that her gold lamé pantsuit
and evening gloves have lost their glitter,
that her hair is curled more on one side
than the other. She hasn't taken care of her hair,
and that is probably my fault. She tells me
that Malibu Ken still lives with her sometimes,
that he still owns nothing but his swim trunks.
She goes on to say that they are celebrating
their thirty-sixth anniversary and drapes a pink
feather boa—that I know once belonged to her rival—
around her neck. I try not to think of the things
I never gave her: no Barbie Townhouse,
no wedding dress, not even a bed with gold sheets
and pillows and blankets. I know nothing of where
she lives now, and neither one of us mentions
Mod Hair Ken with his stick-on sideburns and brown
leisure suit. He was always the villain of the story,
because even then, I knew someone had to be.