Some Parents

 Anika L. Eide

MAR Vol. XXXIV, no. 1

We are granted only so many lies before we become liars. There was that day when I wasted my last lie on the chocolate-covered cherry and so my brother didn’t believe me when I saw the tiny army approaching in the woods. The dolls I had abandoned had not forgotten me. They stumbled toward me from the dark, wet basement into the woods where my brother and I were building a fort from sticks. The dolls were deep in the drunkenness of mobbing. They beat back flies and bushes with the limbs of the dolls who had already fallen in the journey. Wax berries from their permanent handbaskets stained their lips with fruit blood. Their faces, night-edged and severe. I had lied to them, telling them I’d come back, swaddling them in cardboard cradles and sealing them up. I believed that little lies were what made us humans. I would have lied to them again, had they reached me, but the birds got to them first at the edge of the woods, owls and falcons dive-bombing them for their matted hair, perfect nesting material. I could hear their itty-bitty bones breaking, glass shins shattering. What lie would I have given them had they reached me, arms outstretched and frozen minds—told them their mommy had not forgotten? It is true that they probably realized, in the fragments of skull still settling into the dirt, that they never had a plan. The last rag doll standing, her button eyes milking over, found a long thread on her foot and pulled, undoing herself.

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