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The Broken Doll
O little broken doll, dropped in the well,
thrown aside by a child, scampering downhill
to hide under the skirts of his mother!
In twilight’s quiet he took sudden fright
as toadstool caps snatched at his tongue,
foxgloves crooked their fingers at him
and from the oak, he heard the owl’s low call.
His little heart almost stopped when a weasel
went by, with a fat young rabbit in its jaws,
loose guts spilling over the grass while
a bat wing flicked across the evening sky.

He rushed away so noisily and ever since
you are a lasting witness to the fairy arrow
that stabbed his ear; stuck in the mud
your plastic eyes squinny open from morning
to night: you see the vixen and her brood
stealing up to lap the ferny swamphole
near their den, the badger loping to wash
his paws, snuff water with his snout. On
Pattern days people parade seven clockwise
rounds; at every turn, throwing in a stone.

Those small stones rain down on you.
The nuts from the hazel tree that grows
to the right of the well also drop down:
you will grow wiser than any blessed trout
in this ooze! The redbreasted robin
of the Sullivans will come to transform
the surface to honey with her quick tail,
churn the depths to blood, but you don’t move.
Bemired, your neck strangled with lobelias,
I see your pallor staring starkly back at me
from every swimming hole, from every pool, Ophelia.