NAKED BARBIE TABLEAU

ANNA JOURNEY

The four art-school Riot Grrrls lived
in the yellow row house on Strawberry, the only
shabby one on the block.
Each time we’d walk
to the video rental place we’d pass
the arrangement of naked dolls they’d made
beneath the white crepe myrtle in their fenced-in
front yard demarcated in rotting pickets.
The Barbie tableau
rotated weekly in both
position and theme: synchronized
swimmer leg-lifts, Zen
garden-raking, baking pies while wearing
only aprons, football huddle,
The Last Supper. The last
Time I visited the city, their old
house was painted
mint-green, with a classier fence
topped in cast-iron magnolia buds.
The Barbies gone with the neon-
haired women who’d graduated
and moved away. Thirteen years
since we last walked past
that tableau. You still live
somewhere in Virginia, though much
father south. Most likely
the new tenants don’t know their own
garden’s history. How part of the fun
in our weekly trek to the rental place
was to pause at the dolls and believe
we’d keep changing, too,
together, always
at the same pace.