Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Puppet’s Tale

She births me every Día de Muertos, stuffs me with hope, stitches me up with deeds.

“Hope isn’t hard to find,” she says. “The thing grows wild out of the eyeballs of children and in the far stare of any well-lived adult, who understands that ends are just new kinds of beginnings. Good deeds, well… those take work and pain and blood.”

“It does hurt,” I say, clenching the painted cloth of my teeth against the jabbing pain, rubbing the crimsoned stitches she is using to secure the hope of young and old inside my chest.

“I know. I know it hurts,” she says, cutting the spare thread with her teeth, and kissing the top of my head, before taking a step back to smile at the newly born me. Her lips are bloodied. Red has trickled all the way down to her chest.

“You got dirty,” I say, pointing at the cloth that covers her heart.

She unbuttons the top of her dress, revealing fresh ragged stitches that mirror my own, and says, “Dirty? No, just marked by the price of hope, scarred by life.”

“I’m sorry,” I say with a smirk, knowing the crooked lines of my mouth morph the gesture into a creepy thing.

“Don’t be sorry, my Puppet,” she tells me, “just live for me.” Her smile is a red kick in the face of impossible, it feeds me, frees me.

“I’m ready,” I say, and she touches my cheek with the back of her fingers before setting me on the floor. I take a step and then another. On the third step, my first stitch comes gently undone. I smile at my maker, feeling the next stitch give way, letting my lifeforce—her hopes—spill and spread into the world.

She births me every Día de Muertos, stuffs me with hope, stitches me up with deeds… I share.


“Puppet”, by Shelle Kennedy


- this wee tale, which I wrote four years ago, was originally titled “On el Día de Muertos, the Puppet Feels”. I made some small changes: trimmed a bit here, stitched a bit there…

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #44: Of Death and Ghosts in Books).

35 comments:

  1. I am glad you reposted this Magaly. Let's hope the gift of hope will find many people who may be hoping for some improvement in their lives.

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    1. You're welcome, Robin. And I join my hope to yours!

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  2. Ouch! Paging Miss Anesthesiologist. Your story took me to the E.R., Magaly, and the 52 stitches I had above my right brow. This puppet has extraordinary tolerance for pain. I was unconscious even before the surgeon started sewing. But hope is a powerful thing. I love this!

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    1. You just reminded me that I had a lot of stitches when I wrote this one. I had forgotten!

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  3. I so enjoyed your trimmed and stitched tale, Magaly, and that you have written it as a dialogue between the doll and its maker. As you know, I have doll phobia, so both tale and image gave me the shivers. No dolls in my house, only a couple of teddy bears and a woolly mammoth! But I did feel sorry for the doll, clenching the painted cloth of her teeth against the jabbing pain, and then surprise at the maker’s ‘fresh ragged stitches’ that mirrored the doll’s. And what a line: ‘Her smile is a red kick in the face of impossible’!

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    1. I almost didn't add a picture to this one, because I know how much you dislike dolls. I'm glad you read it anyway. And the last line is a favorite of mine.

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  4. Seriously, this story comes on very much alive. i don't know whether to run or stick around to check out some more (which might not be a good idea). :)

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  5. Interesting. Happy Sunday

    Much💙love

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  6. Oh you know I love her. I want her to come live with me. If she unraveled, I would stitch her back quickly, so her hopes would multiply before she unraveled more. Then I would sew her a little bag to carry her hopes in, so she could spread them along the path she travels. Love!

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    1. I am picturing the little bag! If I write more of this story, which I think I will, I suspect there might be a bag.

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    2. So much more comfy, a bag. Less painful, too.

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  7. This is so comforting and delightfully odd. I love the honest darkness in this, and how it births honest hope.

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  8. Carry on , little Puppet, stuffed with hope, to which we cling precariously!

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  9. I am stunned by the way hope is passed through this. The effort of the stitching is a reminder of old hobbies and painful patience.

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  10. It makes me feel very vulnerable and hoping that hope is already inside us.

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  11. And we felt every word like the stitches in her chest XXX

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  12. The emotions your prose brought out in me were overwhelming. Pride, sadness, beauty, grace, hope. Thank you so much for writing it.

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    1. You are most welcome, Helen. Thank you for reading, and sharing your thoughts...

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  13. The Puppet's Tale had me read it again and again. The tale evokes a set of emotions, but overall beauty and grace with which the story is told come tops. I also like how the opening sentence becomes the closing. It's like stitching up all the goodness, hope stuffed in the story, to present as a gift to the reader. Outstanding write!

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    1. Thank you so much for this words, Khaya. I love the way you see it. I do, I do, I do.

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  14. So beautiful. So love this and so needed to read it today. “Hope isn’t hard to find,” she says. “The thing grows wild out of the eyeballs of children and in the far stare of any well-lived adult, who understands that ends are just new kinds of beginnings. Good deeds, well… those take work and pain and blood.” This hit me where it need to!

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    1. And that's the best thing we can hear about the words we share, isn't it? So, thank you so much, Susie.

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  15. Is it really possible to say "I'm sorry" with a smirk? ;)

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    1. I have 5 puppets, they have a permanent grin. So I guess the answer is yes.

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I love your insightful remarks. So, go ahead, let them fly…