In the Limbo of Lost Toys
Alison Stine

Someone stole his sister’s best
and speared them on street signs,
lamp posts, poles, in celebration
of the school year’s end.

A lion bisected by a stop sign,
the straw ticking of his insides
spilled. A doll with x’s
in her eyes. The plush

kingdom softened, lost to rain.
Some of these I took. Some
were taken back, and it was
celebratory, like it is now

when the spoils were once alive,
pausing in their winter pick
of bark and lower branches.
Now the deer have open eyes,

and whatever dreams they have
are dreams disturbed by highway
winds, lashed to truck hoods.
I am told not to look, but look.

How still the dead. How you
are dead, and dead, I might
liken you to the toy horse, drowned
in the fish pool, the way all toys

meet violent ends, legs crossed
in axis, eyes full of milk. I might
liken you to hunters who are
waking up only to lie again

against mold-black trees, so still
as to pass for always. In truth,
nothing will scare the deer,
not even death: unreadable,

roped to bike racks. I might
liken you to everything I lost.
The white dog disappearing
in a storm, and later, the black

running into hacked-off fields
behind which waited flushing
birds, new families. But then
I am forever linking things

to animals. All this I lost
before I lost you, and like you,
all of it changed under new snow,
rain which cored finger-wide

holes, the first grass rolling out
wet and curled from inside
your eyes, which are wider now
but not surprised.


You can read more poetry by Alison Stine in issue 2 of Swink.

Alison Stine’s poems have recently appeared in The Antioch Review, Gulf Coast, Fugue, and Poetry. She is the author of Lot of My Sister (Kent State University Press, 2001), and is currently the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College.


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