I was raised in the company of dolls.
My mother, the miniaturist,
made pies the size of thumbnails.
My father, the shadowboxer,
talked only to the dark.
No one here remembers
the love of a chair for its ottoman
or the privacy of a shut door.
Windows grieve in their sashes.
They burn with interior light,
like blood oranges.
Imagine: a dollhouse in every room—
in every room, another room,
in every girl, another girl
looking out a tiny window,
her face repeated on the glass.
As two who could not pretend
to love each other,
we stared through grief.
Pupil, poupée, little doll
orphaned by the iris of my eye:
what did you see, what did you see
but that other girl in me,
the door to whose post was nailed
the smallest coffin,
hiding the name of God inside
like rust in the mouth.
"Preface" first appeared in The American Poetry Review, Vol. 37:5 (Sept./Oct. 2008): 24.