On the Give and Take Shelf

Getting out of the elevator
I see a pair of feet, then naked legs, a hip, a torso.
On the give and take shelf, where
we discard our coats, hats, and outgrown toys,
I find a manikin. Her head has a crack where
there’s a velcro strip for wigs.
This brings to mind other bodies seen this year
including those in movies who pretend
to die like the little girl
whose doctor father must call on others
before he tends to her diptheria.
She turns her eyes away from her mother
whose heart is breaking. She dies.
Her chest beneath her white gown
moves up and down with breathing.

On the give and take shelf the manikin wears nothing
on its hard plastic skin.
Its eyes are open.


About Patricia Markert

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