Play Time

Knot over knot,
tear within tear,
wound inside wound;

a set of infinite babushka dolls,
yet each a different face;
the smaller they get,
the more blurred the details,
the more terrifying,
trapped deep inside their stacked caskets,
a tiered tomb of cascading pain.

I want to
fill them with water,
one handful at a time,
from an endless sea,
so they drown,
inside each other,
outside each other,
with their painted smiles,
no way to escape.

Or bore a hole,
straight through their
aligned heads,
so they can see,
as the sunshine creeps
through the tunnel of hurt,
see outside their world of
ascending hate.

Instead, I drag them outside,
wider than my outstretched arms,
higher than my pigtailed head,
out into the shining backyard,
where jars of gulkand,
rose petals and sugar,
congeal in the sunshine
into sticky sweetness;
where brown tamarind pods
and bright red chillies,
paint the dust
in the yellow light stripes;
where rings of smoke
from slender beedis,
rise over black flies
sipping from empty teacups.

Drag them out
into the backyard,
undo knot under knot,
wipe tear outside tear,
mend wound beyond wound,
each with a different face.

The dolls are ready.
It’s time to play.

Linked to Dverse Poets

27 thoughts on “Play Time

  1. You are a sight for sore eyes.


    First, my wife is terrified of those babushka dolls. Seriously they creap her out like little else.
    I really like the kinda crazy intensity of drilling a hole through all their skulls to let the sunshine in. Ha. That is cool. Healing is messy work you know. But you stayed after it.


  2. Poetry is painful, but sometimes, one has to have that pain to heal. I like the thought of the different layers of emotion beling like babushka dolls. And yes, at some point, the dolls have to come out of the darkness and play to heal. you nailed this one bang on.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. HEAVY DUTY metaphoric hi jinks, here, I swear. So many possibilities–men as drones, as cyborgs–leaden-eyed, lined up like lemming to collect their pay of pain. But hell no, You as Fixer, somehow, assist them in seeing the light, to get up off their knees & cast long shadows, to chill, to regain their inner child, then onto some serious fresh Play; so cool.


  4. I agree with Bjorn, the nesting dolls create a strong image. For me this brings to mind the most recent, news of immigrants in Europe. Your thrid stanza in particular conjures that heartbreaking image of the drown child:

    I want to
    fill them with water,
    one handful at a time,
    from an endless sea,
    so they drown,
    inside each other,
    outside each other,
    with their painted smiles,
    no way to escape.

    I found this (whole poem) more moving perhaps because of the unique imagery. Of course I’m familiar with the nesting dolls, but never considered them as you have here, and it’s so very fitting (pun not intended).


  5. That doll can be taken in many ways, either as is or a symbolism for oppression ~ I admire the turn of events though, what you did, to undo the knots and heal the wounds ~

    I hope to see you Monday Sept. 7 for our Haibun Monday Thotpurge ~ Enjoy your weekend ~

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A comfort of soils in souls
    away from pain so
    deep nay
    a touch
    of human
    heart hears..
    1 million
    in the world
    can only take
    in less than
    one thousand..
    One Nation
    for the


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