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Tiny Clay Doll with No Arms
Ray Gonzalez

Given to me by my sister as a gift,

the tiny Indian doll stands with no arms.

Given to me so I can raise my hands 

and stop the world from coming closer.

Something has been taken from here--

a day when reaching out was death.

Something lost

with my own hands.

The doll stands three inches tall, 

its brown head wrapped in a red scarf.

No arms, as if I could look at a body 

and not welcome it back.

As if I knew what happened

to my grip on those things.

The clay doll stands on my bookshe1f.

It stares out the window.

It does not have any arms.

I don't know why it was carved that way,

don't know what it means,

why the invisible palms hold everything.

When I touch it with a fingertip,

it leans against a book.

It does not fall.

When I set it back

on its bare feet,

I carefully use both hands.

Reprinted from The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande, with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. Copyright © 2001 by Ray Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1997-2002 by The Academy of American Poets
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