Dear Barbie • Cathy Barber

Dear Barbie,

You still look good in
your one-piece bathing suit,
conservative by today’s standards,
but skimpy for hanging around
the house.

I’m sorry about your toes.
I thought my daughter was ready
for you. That must have hurt,
to have your toes gnawed by a giant girl.
In my defense,
I took you back when I saw
what she’d done.

I wish I could return
you to the days of “Sexy Barbie,”
when I placed you in
the backseat of the doll car
with Ken, both naked.
Oh, the things you did,

things I’d never seen
or heard of, but something,
maybe instinct,
made me place
you and he
on top of one another and
rub you together like two sticks.
My clumsy hands
making you do the act.

Later I replaced your world
with mine, rubbed my body
against this boy and that
in backseats my size.
In those teenage years
I was more anatomically
closed than you were,
only playing with friction.


Barber’s poetry has been published recently in Slant,
SLAB, and San Diego Poetry Annual and is forthcoming
in Sweet’s anthology. She is a 2013 graduate of the
Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing program.
A past president of the board of California Poets
in the Schools and a current member of the advisory
board, Ms. Barber teaches in classrooms in San Mateo County.
She also writes a humor and musings blog: Is It Just Me.