She was an Indian Barbie, long curly lash
And brown complexion. The hair was
Perfect, shiny black and she had on a small
Pink gown to cover her 36-24-36 body.
Last seen, she still had on her high heeled shoes.
Oh how my daughter cried, “Dolly, Dolly,
Where are you?” when she found out she left,
It on the basketball court’s grounds. She took
It along, against her mom’s frequent reminders,
When grandpa brought her with him for a walk.
She cried horribly, my wife mailed me. Tears
Rolling down her cheeks even as her mother
Scolds, tears not for the accusatory words
But for her Dolly who is gone. Gone away,
Lost and probably in another child’s hands.
My wife, with a guilt ridden grandpa’s idea,
Told her Dolly wasn’t lost after all. In fact
She was on her dolly way to dad now who
Works onboard a ship, sailing far, far away
So he can buy milk and nappies for small kids.
“Punta sya dun kasi lungkot si Daddy di ba?”
(She went there because Dad is lonely right?)
She asks in between sobs of her mom, who
Can only nod and kiss her on the forehead
And whisper a “Yes,” the whitest of white
Lies meant to comfort a grieving, sad child.
Fast forward to the time I talked to my child
On a long distance call, from a very public booth.
She asked me if Dolly was with me, forewarned,
I can only sigh a cheerful aye. “Talaga? tignan ko nga!”
(Oh yeah? Let me see her then!)
Of course she must have meant to talk to her.
I didn’t hesitate, all so suddenly I knew what to do,
Then and there I belted a falsetto, uncaring
Of the Island people around me, for in that one
Sparkling moment, I was talking to my child not as
A father but as a long lost friend who misses her.
“HAH! Helloooo Dolly, andyan ka sa barko ni Daddy?”
(Hello Dolly, are you there on Daddy’s ship?)
She asks me after my high pitched hello, asking
with such gasped longing, with such breathless relief,
with such childlike delight and innocence. Even as
Eavesdroppers wonder what harm befell my balls!
The rest of that dreamy conversation is lost to me now.
The wonder of her tone, her concern, her yearning for
Her doll is all that remains, of the father and daughter
Transcending bounds of love, blasting colors and
Rainbows to a gray span of reality, even for a while.
---Part 2 on my poem list please read too long to post