Losing and Finding Thumbelina at Doctor Kaplan’s
By Lisa Grunberger
Thumbelina is gone. Mommy says --
look at the lady at the bus stop with the black umbrella.
Look at how the cold comes out of her mouth.
I kneel in front of the play chest. Stop crying
Thumbelina is gone, but I find four slinky dinks, three Raggedy Anns,
a cookie monster puppet. I want to steal them.
Here she is. She seems more tattered, dirtier against the nurse’s white uniform.
You can check her heart beat with the stethoscope.
The nurse winks and it is a different wink than Uncle Jake’s at Thanksgiving.
She has amnesia I say. Mommy hands me a plastic bag,
says select five beautiful apples. Thumbelina will help you.
I hold her to my ear. The redder the apple the more it hurts to forget.
Mommy tells the story over and over again, like a cat cleaning itself.
She changes a detail. I never know who the hero is supposed to be –
Mommy, me? Thumbelina? The nurse, the apple, the lady at the bus stop?
The black umbrella.
A puppet mother lives beside the aorta,
says do this, chop that, wash the car, cut the bread, run the extra mile.
Go back, go back. Find the most beautiful stethoscope.