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Dolly's Broke
by Carole Mertz

House of old stone, I see you
well. Those you housed did not
die. Some go back to visit, but I,
I can tell the bannister's slick enough yet

for forbidden slides from way up top. Shoes
in the hall, numerous, and set beside boots
and skates and such. We were many, and Granny
watched with parents at work, while

Pappy slept in the chair. Christmas time
was always the best with turkey roasting
and smart dishes that appeared only
this time of year. Old house, do you recall?

The games we played, so competitive,
erupted into shouts, and monopoly money
played its part. Gilbert & Sullivan rang
through the hall, uncles and aunties sometimes sang.

Big brother home from the dastardly
war—we hardly knew each other as we did
before. Young brother guarded his trains from
me. Defiant, I conducted an imagined symphony.

"Nancy, give me baby back—she's mine,
she's mine!" and quick 'round the track trike turned
over in the spin. Ah, now Dolly's "broke"
and Mama said only one of us could win.


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