Home PageArchivesVolume no. 3Issue 2Poetry: Gaffney

La Isla de las Muñecas, Xochimilco, Mexico

M. Brett Gaffney

They hang from the trees,
dirty and drooping from the trees like ornaments—
cotton bodies ripped open
by rusting wire,
plastic heads lolling
into leaves, mouths open.

A girl drowned in the canal
searching for her dolly, reaching
into the water—
para su muñequita.
Daughter and doll swallowed
beside the junipers—
the dried beach grass.

One body resurfaced.

The man from the island
fished it from the canal,
collected hermanos
y hermanas

from the garbage.
He grew fruits and vegetables,
traded them to the people
in town with hungry children,
little girls with broken shoes
clutching dolls to their tiny breasts.

The man from the island
drowned in the canal
searching for something—
gulping freshwater
like communion wine,
for her.

Fifty years later
ants infest what’s left
of bleached nightgowns.
Tourists snap photos,
speak Spanish learned
in American classrooms.

They brush the hair
that curls into moss
and spills over
the eyes, the glass eyes
sliding sideways
inside the melted head—
The dolls are waiting
for someone to take
them home—
infantile limbs

At noon las trajineras
sail from the island.
And there stay the
orphans strung up
like clothes on the line
to dry in the sun.

M. Brett Gaffney is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.


1 comment

  1. Dayna says: March 22, 2012

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