Rag Doll

by Diane Gottlieb

My dear sister Eleanor, who was twelve years my senior and who cared for me as I wished my mother would, would be leaving us soon, though thankfully, I didn’t know it at the time. Nobody did - except Eleanor. She'd never want me to feel alone, so she handed me a box, a giant box, a Raggedy Ann inside, her hair deep red—apple red—in strands of thick yarn. Raggedy Ann wore a simple smock dress, plaid, that you could lift to see her deep-red heart-shaped-heart inscribed with the words I longed to believe: I LOVE YOU. “The heart never lies,” I’d heard that once, though I don’t know from where. I repeated it over and over before setting the doll down on the back porch, alone—I knew even then, at six years old, those words would be a hard sell.


Diane Gottlieb writes fiction and nonfiction — all of it true. Her words are in About Place, The VIDA Review, Hippocampus, The Rumpus, Brevity blog, and Entropy, among others. She’s the Prose/CNF Editor of Emerge Literary Journal. You can find her here and on Twitter.