Dennis Caswell… To Doll Houses


To Doll Houses

O bento boxes of freeze-dried domestic Elysium,
you nurse the injured birds of our yearnings,
expressing our deep and unshakable love for the family
we never had, the one in which everyone’s one twelfth our size
and mute, so when we announce, “I’ve always wanted
a camel-back wing chair. Wouldn’t you like a camel-
back wing chair” the subsequent silence clearly articulates,
“Yes! Yes! A camel-back wing chair is just
what we need!” O taxidermic dioramas
of what young girls’ lives won’t be as good as
and of the constraints within which those lives will fall short,
you are seldom designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
or Philip Johnson or anyone born after 1850,
the year The Scarlet Letter was published. Still,
O dishes of hand-cranked interior ice cream, we crave
your equilibrious visions, their faith
that in each life there is one moment
when all the dishes are put away,
when Mother is poised between chores like a monk between prayers,
Father is in his special chair, reading of how the world outside
is going to hell, and the children don’t mind being children,
and this moment must be found and pinned like a butterfly,
wings forced wide to show every marking, because,
while you can’t stop Father from planning to run off with Phyllis,
his new stenographer, or Mother from thinking of Father’s neck
whenever she slices potatoes, or Elsie and Winthrop from
plotting to raid the liquor closet
and finding out what’s underneath
each other’s sailor suits, you can stop time,
so they’ll never get the chance.


Dennis Caswell is the author of the poetry collection Phlogiston, published by Floating Bridge Press in 2012. His work has appeared in Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, and assorted other journals and anthologies. He lives outside Woodinville, Washington and works in the aviation industry.

Copyright © 2015 by Dennis Caswell







2 thoughts on “Dennis Caswell… To Doll Houses

  1. A doll’s house with glass should not throw stones except in this unique poem by
    Dennis Caswell which glows with a fine narrative to make us believe him.
    BZ Niditch

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