• The Vindicator

Paper Dolls

Written by Lauren Koleszar


Do you remember playing with those paper dolls?

not the barbie dolls (whose busts, scientifically, would have weighed them down)

but paper dolls, two-dimensional paper dolls?

not american girl dolls (whose price tags made my parents gouge out their eyes)

but paper dolls, that you cut out of a book (a book of paper dolls)?


Paper dolls required a little girl who was

fastidious and precise

because one wrong snip on a paper doll

and the whole surgery goes haywire

(doctor, we have dug the scalpel in too deep!)

or maybe just

(hairdresser, we have cut so much off her beautiful long hair!)


I remember playing with paper dolls

my grandmother gave me a pair of

needlepoint scissors shaped like a stork

sharp little scissors suitable for a

(fastidious and precise) little girl

who was keen to cut her paper doll free


Her legs have such fine curves, as my scissors glide across the page,

her clothes will fit loosely, because of those flimsy little tabs,

her hair is choppy,

but that's fashionable

(thank you, paper doll, for forgiving me)


A last circling snip and

she is a little crooked now,

a little weak now that she is free

(thank you to the stork, who delivered her soul from the spring)


I wonder if the little girl,

I wonder if the paper doll, is lonely,

but she smiles at me

she has arranged all her clothes on the carpet

(don't forget to clean up all that paper!)

(yes, mom!)

she carefully organizes her wardrobe

(ample attention is given to this paper doll's next look)

she opens the book (the book of paper dolls)

and clasps the stork scissors again

(the little girl tilts her head)

I must cut her a friend