Barbie Underwear

 

Most say girls stop playing

with Barbie when their

friends do. I didn’t

because I was the older sister

and our attic, renovated

in creams and whites,

had become a

plastic heaven.

 

I stopped when my

sister held a Tommy doll

to Barbie’s bare breast

in front of mom and attested

to knowing that this was

how babies were fed-

that I had told her.

 

I stopped when I feared

she would discover the way

I put Barbie on top of Ken in

bed and I tore apart

the Velcro pads sewed onto the back

of her shirt to keep

her decent.

 

Now, I realize the sound

of Velcro departing Velcro is that of

a pad being pulled off

panties. It’s something I should have

been able to pick up on then, because

I still wore belly-button high

Barbie underwear when I

stopped playing with Barbie.

 

 

Hotel Bed

 

We fell asleep in a room that was 65 degrees

at the highest – mid July,

around 11:15 pm.

I was wrapped in your zip-up, maybe

your sweat pants.

 

I was buried underneath hotel sheets

and a stupidly thick comforter.

I had puked up pink vomit

and called it a night.

 

The next morning of our vacation

you told your parents that we

were alright.

We drove to a dive:

The Athen’s Diner (on the placemat

it goes by another name).

It was only us and a few tables packed

with old men drinking coffee.

 

We moved onto the city to: decorate our clothes

with museum badges, eat matching meals

of Cape Cod chips and grilled cheeses,

before inevitably arguing with the GPS

on where our next destination was –

 

back at the hotel, so that we could hang

the sign from the doorknob

and try sleeping again.

 

 

Shop Rite Cart

 

I overheard you talk

of Cheerios and wanted

to know if your mother

slipped you into a school dress

and combed your hair

before breakfast in a kitchen

that had not yet had an avocado

colored phone from the 70’s.

 

The dinner you place

in a Shop Rite cart,

I can only assume most of it

is Italian.

Parents now long passed

siblings married and responsible

for the ones pointing at the shelves

as the cart wheels click along.

 

You showed me a photo of you

at a coworker’s retirement lunch in

which my only recollection is

the black sports coat. I’d been

with you the morning of. Waiting

for the others, you pulled your

hair back with a comb

like James Dean.

 

I wonder now if there was a wine

glass in that picture that was

yours. Tipsy, I’d imagine

you flushed and shy

gently wrapping your fingers

around my elbow, humming

the theme song to Mister Ed,

the only song I knew of that you

committed to memory.

 

Carrie Tolve

Carrie Tolve is from northern New Jersey. She spends most of her time divided between work, binge watching Parks and Recreation, and reading. She has been published in Mock Orange Magazine and has work in the upcoming issue of The Meadow.

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