When I was seven I buried my doll
in the backyard—
there in the far left corner
along the chain link fence
behind the tree.
I bury my doll in the early haze of morning
before my dad pulls himself from
night like tar from the road
and rips into day, already raged
by the light
or by the robin calling,
or by my shoe in the hallway
or my sister’s book
on the counter—
or by my mother’s half smile
or the scrambled eggs, she made that he won’t eat
or by our silence
or our talking.
I bury that baby girl,
in her favorite green argyle sweater and navy wool skirt,
her hair braided in two braids,
tied at the end in thin, red satin ribbons.
I pull her white knee socks taut,
and buckle her black patent leather shoes.
I close her blue eyes before I wrap her
in a brown plastic bag, face up in the hole
I dug yesterday morning, scoop dirt into my hands—
and promise
I won’t let him touch
your body.


Lani Scozzari is a writer, long distance runner, mother, and teacher. Publications of her poems and essays include The Collagist, The Cortland Review, Comstock Review, Midway Journal, Mom Egg Review, The Boiler Journal, many others as well as several anthologies. She is the recipient of a finalist award from The Massachusetts Cultural Council for her poetry in Ballet's Child. Many different writing conferences have awarded her with scholarships including The Frost Place, The Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and The Workshop for Publishing Poets. While earning her M.F.A. in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, she served as the senior editor of their literary journal, Lumina. She and her husband are raising their two young daughters in Tequesta, FL. For more information, check out www.balletschild.com.