Jennifer Kwon Dobbs

The Puppet Maker

“Might it be that this piece of wood has learned to weep
and cry like a child?”
—C. Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio
As he angled the screw into the joint
he hesitated to fasten its knee
more real than his own stiffened by winters,
nights of hearth & plates of black bread
that taught gratitude for the small
callous on his forefinger cushioning a day’s work.
The puppet in his lap flailed its stringless arms
as if they were given
without fire in mind & the limitless distance
between it & it; yet he
listened not to the reedy voice I want I want,
but to the wind thrumming against the shutters,
hollow knock of wood against wood,
a pulse that kept measure with his,
which bored the puppet, so that it leapt & spun away
laughing on its spindle legs
that loosened then splintered, & dragged behind
as it crawled toward him
weeping for repair.

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs
“The Puppet Maker” is from Paper Pavilion (White Pine Press 2007).