I have a dollhouse. My mother got it for me at a yard sale. It’s blue and the inside of it is white, except I painted some of the rooms with light watercolors. It’s a very big, primitive dollhouse, like a cave. Some of the doorways are broken.

There are no stairs so I took an old phone receiver with the cord hanging off of it, and I made the receiver into a bed with the cord hanging down as a spiral ladder. My dolls can climb up and down the ladder. Sometimes they get in fights and one doll will push another doll off the ladder two stories down to the ground.

I think the phone is really comfortable to sleep on because of all the buttons on it.

I wish that I could shrink and live in my dollhouse. I read books about people shrinking and living in dollhouses. Or people who are already small and live in dollhouses.

My doll family: John, father. Susan, mother. Lucy, age 12. David, age 11. Marian, 10. Eleanor, 9. Michael, 3. Aster, 2. The Baby, 1. They have to share bedrooms. Times are hard but there is always plastic bread, and some oranges and bananas, and some meat, some muffins, and soda. And they have toys that I have collected for them. I made them a toybox out of posterboard cut up into squares and taped together into a cube. And sometimes they have She-Ra. With a shaven head she is their tough, butch, older sister. She lives away from home but she comes to visit sometimes.

Lucy is the luckiest and the most incongruous in the family. She is china with blond hair and flouncy pink Victorian-era skirts and pantalets. Next to her, they all look like refugees. But she is really nice and acts in a responsible, mature manner behooving the eldest child. She has problems sitting down, though, because her skirts get in the way.

David is active and quick. He picks on Eleanor too much, pushing her off the ladder or ignoring her. He likes to play with Marian. Everyone likes to play with Marian.

Marian is beautiful and kind, if bossy. Nature has rendered her an invalid. Her rubber legs are snapped off at the knee. As surgeon I have jammed them back together with pins. She is fortunate enough, however, to have a beautiful yellow dress that matches her yellow hair, which has a red painted bow in it. Because of their physical similarity she and Lucy like to play together.

Eleanor is quiet and shy and plain. She is an orphan. She came from the street. She has red shoes. She doesn’t bend well so she has to stand up all the time, or lie down flat. Her pink dress is homemade. She helps look after the babies. The babies are not much worth mentioning. They consist mainly of cry and demand.

John and Susan lie together in bed on top of the sheets, side by side, staring up at the ceiling. John wears his suit and tie. Susan wears her ragged checked wraparound skirt and sleeveless top that I made for her from a box of scraps. Above them a brown spider crawls on the ceiling. The spider is going to have spiderlets.

My dollhouse is in the corner of my room in front of the radiator. Balls of dust roll silently around the house like clouds during the night when I sleep and the day when I am in school. I come home and make a patchwork quilt for Lucy, from the box of scraps. I stuff it with a kind of cobwebby synthetic stuffing I have. The quilt is beautiful and suits Lucy. One side is all rosebuds and the other side is squares cut from a lake at sunset.

Now they’re all, my dolls, lying like mummies in a cardboard box. I wrapped each one individually in Kleenex after making them watch me take all the furniture out of their house. Then I took the dollhouse and the box of furniture and people upstairs to the attic. They’re all sleeping except one. Eleanor still has her eyes open and you can hear her breathing.