Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 51
harvest moon, 2023

Featured artwork, Cheeseburger Picnic, by Chris Mars

new works

Lindy Biller

Paper Doll

In a drawer, in an envelope, on the little paint-spackled desk—flat-chested, flat-backed, little tabs holding the clothes that cling to paper skin. Yes, I’m flimsy, I know. I feel the way my arms and legs flap when you pick me up from the middle, your thumb and index finger pinching my pencil-dot belly button, where the umbilical cord would’ve attached if I had been born of flesh and blood and bone. You attach my floral paper dress, my brown paper shoes, you lift my arm and make it wave hello, hinging from the brass pin at my elbow. You switch me to pajamas at bedtime, holding me gentle and breathless as a prayer, as gentle as your mother held you, when you were small, when you could still be held. I know—you can feel in me the potential to crinkle, to bend, to tear. I am fragile. I am not even cardstock. I want to hold your hand and comfort you and wipe your tears, but paper turns to pulp, dissolves with water. I want you to know, I can see how much you care. But don’t be timid, don’t be so afraid. Pretty things weren’t just made to look at, and what am I supposed to be if not yours to destroy?

Lindy Biller is a writer based in Wisconsin. Her fiction has recently appeared or is forthcoming at SmokeLong Quarterly, Parentheses Journal, Vestal Review and Scrawl Place. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram.