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The doll is a doll, but if,
in a rage, one were to grab suddenly
this doll by its feet and bash its head
against the wall, another, seeing this,
would feel violated. One might subside
from destruction, sated or shamefacedly
patting the doll to propitiate her back
into serene dolldom.
The life we give to doll or painting
is life, the doll's awareness
of the green apples a little girl
(or painter) strews about it
as actual as the awareness we grant
our own bodies.
Here we must give life doubly:
First to a flat canvas daubed with color
we give the solid masses of a doll;
then to the doll a presence, our agreement
with its borrowed life.
To painted apples we grant
only the first layer of living--
unless you can see them milling about
muttering to each other, "Who's she
to get all this attention?"
October 6, 2002