I search all round the garden;
she wasn’t in her bedroom or the den,
not lurking in the ghostly shadows
of the infinite corridor. I cross the lawn,
enter the copse behind the hedge
covered with yesterday’s washing:
sheets, pillowcases pinned to twigs
instead of using washing pegs.
Branches rustle, I hear giggling
from the tree-house above my head.
The rickety ladder leans teasing
against the trunk, a subtle warning
with the frisson of foreboding.
I scale the tree rung by rung,
sweaty fingers tightly gripping
rough wood, splinters sharp against skin.
The platform looms above me.
Silence tickles hairs on my neck.
I raise my head above the parapet
of childhood and come face to face
with mutilated dolls: torsos, limbs and heads,
muddy parts dug up from the flower bed
where they were buried the other day
in a funeral game she loved to play.
Kim M. Russell, 27th July 2018
This Thursday Izy’s challenge aims to shake us out of the ordinary. She says that we all have that one unfounded, completely unjustified fear, a nightmare scenario that we know will never really happen, but it plagues us nonetheless. It bubbles up when alone in the dark or when falling asleep at night. Izy’s is badgers with switchblades. Our challenge is to take our personal unfounded fears and write poems about them – taking a comedic stance.
I fear I failed on the comedic stance as I got carried away in a real story that over the years has turned into a nightmare. As some of you know, I have a doll phobia. While I was pregnant and living in Ireland many years ago, I stayed with friends in a lodge house with a huge garden and a tree-house. They had two children, a baby daughter born months before mine and a six-year-old daughter. Once, when I was looking for her in the garden, I looked in the tree-house and found a pile of mouldy dismembered dolls.
By the way, I had a horrific time looking for an image to illustrate this poem. I won’t be going back to this any time soon.