the neighborly doll

at those gradeschool sleepovers

your friend's mother always

refused to put away her favorite

doll, that enormous, peculiar-looking

kewpie. why did she leave

it on the guest bed

as if insisting that it sleep

between you and your friend?

after the scary movie,

it would be there waiting

for you, no matter how or where

you turned your head.  it stared right at you

both alive and dead. whether waking up

from a bad dream or sleepless,

even in the pitch black night,

with closed blinds, the plastic eyes

intensely glistening with moonlight.



Matt Schumacher has published two full-length collections of poetry, Spilling the Moon and The Fire Diaries. He serves as poetry editor of the journal Phantom Drift and lives in Portland, Oregon.