The Doll without Blue Eyes – Emma Lee

The Doll without Blue Eyes

A mother ordered a doll: golden haired
and blue-eyed but it arrived with green eyes
and darker hair, skin pale rather than rosy.

The mother didn’t correct the mistake,
but ordered another, a boy, who did
have blue eyes and golden hair.

The mistake wasn’t allowed to forget
or speak in public, except to praise.
No one would dispute maternal love.

The mother dressed the girl in odds
and ends and blamed her for not
looking her best or for being too pale.

The mistake taught herself not to blush,
to remain silent, sponged up the blame
even when it was the golden boy’s fault.

She grew up in a locked display case,
that shrank each year so she restricted
her growth and learnt how to pick locks

until she was skilled enough to escape
and took her secrets with her until
she learnt the mother’s shame was not hers.


Emma Lee’s most recent collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, UK 2015), she co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, UK, 2015), reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at

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