The man I love calls me doll, calls me baby.
He phones me everyday, his sweet, sweet girl.
Sometimes we talk about his mother,
how she lost thousands on worthless coins
she’d read about in the back of a magazine,
how it makes him sad to think of her alone,
wrapping the coins in doilies, trying
to save something as legacy.
I tell him about my grandmother,
her farm sold, her move to town, how she ate
cat food for months, how the clerks allowed
her to buy the cans, knowing she had
no barn, nothing left to feed. I tell him
that this made my father cry. He says he’ll
never let anyone hurt me, that when I’m old
I’ll still be his sweet baby, his
little doll. I try to imagine
an old man betrayed by circumstance,
by loneliness, but I can’t. It’s almost
always the women left behind to live.
Oh, Sweetie. My poor little baby doll.