Doll Operatives

Ray Ball


Does the doll in the museum
remember her mission? Automaton blonde.
She spends her days and nights
suspended in a glass case, but she was once
a toy of action. No G.I. Joe
made for the imagined brutalities
of boys playing at war, but a plasticized
toddler with wide eyes
open to combat. She served
the Cuban Revolution. Beneath
that synthetic hair was a head
stuffed full of messages. Bullets
in the body. No one suspects
a child’s doll or the underskirts
of women. Nice girls with weaponized
vaginas. The doll’s sister was a member
of the opposition. She went to Miami
and then on to Buffalo in the arms
of the daughter of a dissident —
a participant in Operation Peter Pan.
The dolls are forever youthful
even though they cannot return to
the Neverland that stretches between.



Ray Ball, Ph.D is a writer and history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. When not in the classroom or the archives of Europe and Latin America, she enjoys running marathons, reading, and spending time with her spouse Mark and beagle Bailey. She is the author of a number of history books and articles. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Foliate Oak, Moonchild Magazine, NatureWriting, Occulum, and Visitant. She tweets @ProfessorBall.