Margo Taft Stever

February 23, 2019 Taft Stever Margo



The dolls wait for the children
to wake up. They lie on their backs,
staring upwards as though
the ceiling were a resting place.
For them, love is what counts—
holding them, talking softly,
making certain they sleep
comfortably in their beds.
Knowing how to dress dolls
is an art—just what color socks
each takes, like pouring tea, how
many gowns, where the shoes go.
Dressing could take all day, or
just a second. Dirt sticks
to a doll. Remember, rain
is not right for her. Exposure
to the elements breaks down
a doll’s resistance. Wait
until storms abate before leaving
with your doll. Time means nothing
to her. She will wonder
about rain, about everything
trains bring. Tree flowers drape
light strands like spider babies
in soft wind. Dolls are restless
on their feet all day, listening
for helicopters. They gather
on roads after rainfall to smell
the concrete getting wet,
the newly soaked pavement almost
drunk after a dry spell. Dolls
on boats head for rocks
in high winds. How many times
they wished the boat could reverse
but before motors were invented,
everyone jumped ship. Each day,
supermarket racks sport headlines—
dolls gone sour, dolls born with beards,
hair grown with snakes, Medusa-like.

Margo Stever has published four previous collections of poetry, including the The Lunatic Ball, 2015; The Hudson Line, 2012; Frozen Spring, 2002; and Reading the Night Sky. In 2019, her book Cracked Piano will be published by CavanKerry Press and her chapbook Ghost Moose will be published by Kattywompus Press. Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies including Poetry Flash, Salamander, upstreet, and Prairie Schooner.  She is the founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and founder of the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York.