Monday, 26 December 2022

Make Believe Love

by Stephanie Shafran

In this story
she is nursed on
fairy tales
big-breasted Barbies
with hourglass figures
wed stiff-shouldered Kens
always a head taller
than their beautiful
blond mates

In her games
Barbie and Ken
hug and kiss
dress and undress
his frozen lips
reach again and again
for the plastic glow
of her rouged cheek

pretend love
tastes sweet to a young girl’s
never-kissed lips

In this story
Barbie never
nags at Ken
the way her mother snarls
at her father at daybreak
“Why can’t you be normal,
stay asleep instead of blasting
the room with light to read those
high-brow books?
It’s two in the morning
for Criminy sake!”

At eight years-old
she wonders
why the word
lingers in the
silence so long
as she prays
for sleep to swallow
the lump swelling in her throat

In this story
she conjures a canopy-covered bed
with rose-colored sheets of silk
where Barbie and Ken
sleep soundly
in each other’s arms
happily ever after

* * * * *

A member of Straw Dog Writers Guild and Florence Poets Society, Stephanie Shafran resides in Northampton. Her writing appears in journals such as Earth’s Daughters, Slant, Persimmon Tree, and Silkworm. Anthologies featuring Stephanie’s writing include A 21st Century Plague:Pandemic Poetry, published in 2021.

Stephanie published the chapbook Awakening in 2020.


  1. Wonderful [oem by Shafran.

  2. Wonderful poem, Stephanie; glad I got to read it ~ Susan Middleton

  3. Beautiful. Congratulations Eileen P. Kennedy

  4. I love this poem, Stephanie. It says so much that is complicated in a beautifully simple voice.