Literary Barbie

This poem takes a cultural icon and brings her to life in a very unique way!

LITERARY BARBIE                                           Denise Duhamel

When Barbie reads Kafka’s The Metamorphosis,

her whole body aches. She relates

to Gregor Samsa, the salesman-turned-bug,

who tries to explain his transformation

to his family, but who can only

produce tiny insect-squeaks. So many times

that kind of thing has happened to her.

Barbie’s ouches gone unacknowledged, silent giggles

indicating appreciated tickles, lost shrill cries

for help. From the other room, she overhears a human

telling her friend that women make Barbie-feet

just before orgasm, pointing their bare toes to the edge

of the bed, even though they aren’t wearing high heels.

Barbie has a thought, unsure whether it is

memory or pure imagination:

It’s her, but not her,

under the stars, in a field of wet grass. She looks

like someone she doesn’t know—a chubby girl

with problem skin and thick glasses. There is a hand,

her own or someone else’s, between her legs

and she feels the beginning of something

she’s never felt before. In her terror of pleasure,

she whispers no to it all. And wakes up, immobile,

plastic, looking entirely like somebody else.

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