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  • Palmer Smith

Satin Dressed Doll published by The Prometheus Review

Satin Dressed Doll

at the St. Cecilia Ball


“Either you fade away or you become a debutante.”

My step-mother announces with a voice of a sharp knife,

slicing a sweet but stale cinnamon bun,

the spice sticking to the side of her lips

before she begins her Bridge.

Apparently, a game of trained wit.


Susie from Water Street, Lily, who attends Wofford.

Margaret is excluded. Here is Lizzie with her hair curled.

These thin-satin dressed dolls.

Their hair tightened by pearled bows.

Their makeup caked on like sprinkled sugar powder.

Their feet stamped with the emblems of a class

easy to abhor.


But boys approach like moths to a light,

Are these the ones we are meant to marry?

Boys who will grow up just like their fathers,

cashing old money checks.


My plastic body break into bits

on the wooden dance floor,

like Humpdy-dumpty

but never to be put together again.

A painless death:

I am

a debutante.



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