In Woods They Whittle A New Doll

published in Impossible Task, December 2021

“She clutched her doll and wandered around Salt Lake City with a man who claimed he was God.” David Kelly on Wanda Barzee (kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart.” Couple Known As Polite But Very Odd,” Chicago Tribune, March 14th, 2003. 

It takes journalists, directed to the site, 

three hours to hike, in sunlight, brush covered 

trail, a rocky terrain, to reach the campsite 

where a fourteen year old was restrained, suffered 

summer months.  Quick with questions — why she would

not flee the three mile descent home again. 

Though they have been told when they stood

near the trees where she would be tethered when 

the madman went to town, of the other pair

of evil eyes he left around to peer and

punish, enslave, starve the child they snared

in plastic, branches carved until commands

and survival are her only protocols; 

they whittle life into a portable doll. 

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