by ashley miranda
a hundred dollars [American] para una muñeca - a hundred dollars will go to rent or food. my abuelita takes me to the American Doll store so i can look / can’t touch. at four, at five, i desperately want an American Doll, white skin, untouchable. i want to be untouchable. i want to be the American Girl Doll.
“American” Girl Doll Josefina is released in ’97. she is Mexican, which is unAmerican. by then, i’ve given up on being an American Girl. the closest doll that reminds me of me is the disney version Esmerelda [Roma, unAmerican, dark skin, dark thick hair, beautiful, exotic].
“American” Girl Doll Marisol Luna is released in 2005. all Latinx girls are butterflies or moths under a moon. in this iteration “American” means fleeing from Pilsen’s ‘dangerous’ [read immigrant, read Spanish, read unAmerican] neighborhood in an “American” move of white flight/fright. meanwhile, in Chicago, Pilsen is being gentrified. meanwhile, in Chicago, all the Latinx markers [the laundromat owned by your tia, la panaderia filled with conchas] begin to evaporate.
in high school, my doll obsession does not subside. i still want an untouched doll. there are still more white dolls than any other. i think about pouring hundreds of dollars into a ball jointed doll, a doll i can call my own, who looks like me and is/isn’t me. my mother wants to get me one, but the money will go towards mortgage and food.
in 2017, American Girl parent company, Mattel, releases a line of Barbies that are a spectrum of colors and shapes and for once maybe some four year old can get a doll that doesn’t cost a chunk of rent and see herself, not as unattainable or precious or untouched, but as real and human
in 2018, “American” Girl Doll Luciana Vega is released. she is Chilean. she wants to go to space. she is the third Latina doll in the line. she costs around hundred [American] dollars. her space habitat cost three hundred and fifty dollars. they will take our (un)American dollars and send us into space, send us anywhere that is not America.
Ashley Miranda is a latinx poet from Chicago. Her work has been previously featured by the Denver Quarterly, Yes, Poetry, Rising Phoenix Review, MAKE magazine and other publications. She has a forthcoming chapbook, dolores in spanish is pain, dolores in lolita is a girl, from Glass Poetry Press. She tweets impulsive poetry and other musings @dustwhispers.