Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NURSING HOME: THE DOLL, by KAREN SWENSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NURSING HOME: THE DOLL, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Rouge the cracked china of her cheeks
Last Line: Put her away unbroken.
Subject(s): Facades; Nursing Homes; Appearances; Old Age Homes; Assisted Living

Rouge the cracked china of her cheeks.
Tie a pink ribbon in her hair.
Dress up the ninety-year-old
for a visit from her relatives.

And we come in and sit beside her,
uncomfortable at the living funeral.
She says, "Oh yes. Yes," to everything;
but her eyes fold us back gently,
pale as tissue paper.

Hidden behind the bedroom door, she
snips gold fringe from her mother's earrings,
to make a necklace for her doll's
Limoges white neck.

She strokes the ribbon in her hair
and smiles tenderly at the wall.
We leave. Flat white shoes
put her away unbroken.

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