He Wonders What It Will Take

I was hard on toys,” she says.

“Especially dolls and teddy bears. The things

that matter most to me . . .

I’ve never trusted they would last.”

She swirls her spoon

in her coffee.

She doesn’t look up.

“I abused the toys I loved.

I pulled off the arms and ears,

the buttons. I treated them

like shit. The ones that lasted,

I love forever.”

He thinks of the bears and lions

he’s seen in her bedroom,

scarred survivors of her uncertainty:

one-armed, blind, unstuffed. Deeply loved.

He waits for what comes next.

His nose and eyes intact, he remains untested.

Talk story

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