Caridad Moro-Gronlier Miami (Mary Block)
In Defense of My Mother Who Never Bought Me a Barbie Dreamhouse
I was too young to understand
just how young my mother was
when she worked the nightshift
at TRW, building spacecrafts
with her hands, too young to know
how it felt to hand over the whole
of her check to my father
who gave her an allowance--
ten dollars after 40 hours,
ten dollars he’d drop into her palm
every pay day.
I understood Barbie called the shots.
That Dreamhouse was hers, Ken,
an accessory sans the authority
to tell her what to do.
I wrote thirty-one letters
to Santa that year,
but he wasn’t in charge.
My father was.
I thought I stood a chance
because Mami loved Barbie’s
mid-century mod A frame too,
how the chalet gleamed up at us
from the slick pages of the Sears catalog,
the wonder of real jalousie windows
and wall-to-wall carpets unfurled
on the kitchen table where she calculated
just how long she’d have
to lay that chalet away,
just how much she’d have to beg
to convince my father to pay.
I watched her turn the page,
no dogear to save her place.
I’d like to say I was happy
with the Barbie Dream Plane
she placed under the tree, but I blamed her.
It would take years to understand
she didn’t want me to dream of staying put,
she wanted me to dream of flying away.
Originally published in https://www.limpwristmagazine.com/lw6