poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

poetic forms

About this Poem 

“We wrote ‘Florida Doll Sonnet’ by email, two lines at a time, as part of a new collaborative series on our fascinating adopted home of South Florida. Miami ranks number three in the nation for cosmetic surgery. There is one plastic surgeon for every 10,000 people. We’re not sure how many patients one surgeon can have, but sometimes it feels like each treats 9,998 people and we are the only two without face-lifts.”
Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton

Florida Doll Sonnet

I love Fresh Market but always feel underdressed
squeezing overpriced limes. Louis Vuitton,
Gucci, Fiorucci, and all the ancient East Coast girls
with their scarecrow limbs and Joker grins.
Their silver fox husbands, rosy from tanning beds,
steady their ladies who shuffle along in Miu Miu’s
(not muumuus) and make me hide behind towers
of handmade soaps and white pistachios. Who 
knew I’d still feel like the high school fat girl
some thirty-odd years later? My Birkenstocks
and my propensity for fig newtons? Still, whenever
I’m face to face with a face that is no more real
than a doll’s, I try to love my crinkles, my saggy
chin skin. My body organic, with no preservatives.

Copyright © 2015 by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 4, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 4, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Denise Duhamel

Denise Duhamel

Born in 1961, Denise Duhamel is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, including Blowout (University of Pittsburgh, 2013).

by this poet

poem
—to Sean Penn

I'm writing this on a plane, Sean Penn,
with my black Pilot Razor ballpoint pen.
Ever since 9/11, I'm a nervous flyer. I leave my Pentium
Processor in Florida so TSA can't x-ray my stanzas, penetrate
my persona. Maybe this should be in iambic pentameter,
rather than this mock sestina, each
poem
Men are legally allowed to have sex with animals,
as long as the animals are female.
Having sexual relations with a male animal
is taboo and punishable by death.

As long as the fish are female
saleswomen in tropical fish stores are allowed to go topless.
Adultery is punishable by death
as long as the betrayed
poem
They decide to exchange heads.
Barbie squeezes the small opening under her chin 
over Ken's bulging neck socket. His wide jaw line jostles
atop his girlfriend's body, loosely,
like one of those novelty dogs
destined to gaze from the back windows of cars.
The two dolls chase each other around the orange Country