An Online Literature and Art Journal

American Girl Doll, Kit, Rides the Ohio

“You will fall in,” my mother forecasted
when I clomped way too close to wet

deck rails to show my doll how to whistle
bob-white calls at men working the black-

stacked barges—how to end spit’s momentum
inside the river’s gulp and flow.  Told Mom “No—

I won’t,” because I knew the Anderson Ferry
buoyed me in high princess style like no other

girl, but that day she yanked me back, jailed
me so close that I lost the mist’s fish-sharp smell

inside of her hug. I stood there dreaming up
plump night-crawlers wound tight on the line,

a garfish’s scissoring jaws nipping
at the current, the Little Boone taking

me on past Hebron to the far end of the world.
Mid-river and Mama got preoccupied enough

for me to leave her side and there I squatted,
slipped up and lost that doll who once straddled

my hip, looking for adventure.  She floated
along behind the boat then sank, lazy-haired,

into the green gloam.  I said nothing while
her blonde strands spread to dandelion puffs,

inviting that dream blow, that wish held in
for so long, then—in one quick breath—let go.

Sherry Stanforth 
is the Creative Writing Vision Program Director at Thomas More College and co-editor of the literary magazine Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. She teaches creative writing, environmental and ethnic literatures, and folklore. Her poetry collection Drone String (Wind Publications) is forthcoming in late winter, 2015. She performs Appalachian folk music in a family band and raises four children along with a hive of bees.