Kate Peper

Barbie’s Secret

Barbie never healed
from my ear-piercing attempts,
spearing her tiny lobes
with my mother’s sewing pins,
sharp ends exiting opposite cheeks.

I want to cut off her hair—
shear her golden halo to cornstalk bristles,
test the truth of my sister’s warning,
a doll’s hair won’t grow back.

I wonder if her head echoes with voices
telling her to stand straight,
take smaller bites
and cross her legs.
I want to know if she was born
to perfection, a secret safely lodged
between pin-pricked ears.

Barbie floats headless
in my bath, a bubbled heaven
where a body beautiful as hers goes.

She’s as smooth as a stone,
her sex blank as a page.
Nipplesss breasts glide like islands.
My own, just starting to bead
and rise in cool air.