My sister is five, I’m three. Our new doll wears furry chartreuse pajamas with feet. He is a deep chocolate brown, his black hair is fuzzy. We love him. We don’t know where he came from, and we don’t care. We play with him every day along with Shirley Temple and Raggedy Ann. Then suddenly he is gone. We search the way only little girls can, that is, everywhere. Under the beds, in the covers, through the closets, behind the rocker, in the oven, behind the refrigerator, on the porch, in the grass, even around back in the trash burner. And that’s where we find what’s left of him: a section of his stomach with just the bellybutton intact. I cry loud and long. We both cry copious tears. We even dare to question who would do such a thing to our beloved doll, but no one confesses so we are left to do what we can which is conduct a funeral. We dig a hole alongside the house, and with many prayers and much weeping, we bury the bellybutton.
Years later, when I am grown and far from home, my mother sends me a black baby doll. He is made in China. He arrives with a change of clothes, a pacifier, and a newborn’s wrist bracelet where I fill in his birth date as the day of his arrival and his name: Teddy. After my husband.
what’s left of me
when he takes