dollhouse horse by Sam Moe

I don’t know what I’m trying to tell you, last night someone put a toy horse in my mouth and now it’s all I think about. My bed lamp is off I’ve tried to coax the horse with dollhouse electricity, banging two baby pans, snapping my fingers in its ears. Mini-horse remains. Dark

sludge leaks through our roof cracks, dark as a yawn. My cousins have gone to sleep, night is when I tell the dolls my secrets. I pick their housing districts apart reconstruct them each day. How they love exploring bedroom-kitchens, mouse- holes full of kettle and knife, I’ve left off

in the middle of a story. Horse in my cheek, soft saliva pools beneath my tongue. The dolls mark plastic candles each day, walk on bathhouse slippers I sewed from cotton balls. Their light bodies make no sound, sometimes they crow when I tell stories especially divine. A clapping

marches down the hall, I place the dolls, singing in my pockets. Be quiet, be still, I whisper. Off to the cousin room we go, my slippers are Macao- cocoa, vegetable ivory locks my wrists. A spark flies into the hall and dissipates. They are lighting animal fireworks. My mouth horse howls. Dollhouse bodies move in my pocket yet I continue to the source of the noise, look 

through the doorknob, see a wing of our old swan lying in the center of the floor. I might have joined them if we were still speaking. They count off before leaning into each-other’s ears, whisper dark spells that bring water cranberry chestnuts to life. Now my dolls are watching, painted mouths agape, now a feather explodes into an otter on fire, their blouses are stained from laughter. I see a swollen spark sail to the window. We sigh, I forget I’m hiding. the dolls tug at my ankles, time to go. though I run off, they’re faster. I hear the spells, see a wrapper of night

sky before my eyes, the horse bursts flesh wings in my mouth, I taste gum chewing gum, my talk house mutes itself my tongue unfurls like a curled pig tail, it’s dark.

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