Nonfiction Feature: “For All The Lost Dolls” by Kennidi Green

……My family consists of six girls, two boys, one father, and one mother. We were all forcefully compressed into a house in downtown Baltimore. I shared a room with one of my older sisters who believed it was her room. My two brothers slept in the bathroom, so whenever you had to use it, you had the beg them to leave and pray they actually did. My other sisters all shared rooms as well.

……I was a child who loved dolls. I carried a few dolls around with me well past my diaper days. Some dolls could talk, some could laugh, some had combs and some had hairpins. My favorite was a doll with red yarn for hair and a blue apron dress. I brought this doll everywhere with me. If I was eating dinner so was she. If I was playing hide and seek so was she. Being a girl attached to dolls wouldn’t go over well in any household, but especially not one with six girls and two boys.

……My brothers would laugh at me and find new ways find ways to torture my doll—and therefore me—every day. My sisters were either older than me and wouldn’t let me play with them or were younger than me and not fun to be around. My mother, a nurse, was understandably tired all the time and didn’t want too much bother from her kids. My father was my safety.

……My father had a voice like thunder and eyes like black marble. He was always good to me. I was his favorite. I looked just like him. My skin, my hair, my lips, my everything was reminiscent of my father.

……Every day when my father came home from work he would pick all six of his daughters up to receive a hug and a kiss. I waited every day for him to come home. I would hide under the bed until everyone had their turn and only then would I run out to my father for him to swing me around and kiss me on my forehead. One day my father came home, kneeled down, and took the hand which held my doll. My father said, “Look at Daddy’s hair.” I looked at his hair; it didn’t look any different than it had looked before. Was there supposed to be a difference? He continued, “Look at Daddy’s eyes” and as I looked at his eyes they too were also the same. They were brown circles so deep and dark they almost looked black and had burning red lines drowning in the whites. Finally, he said, “Look at Daddy’s skin” and his skin also looked the same as it has always been. Dark. Then he held up my doll, “Look at this doll’s skin.”

……The doll had skin that was the opposite of mine and my father’s. Light.“Your baby will never have skin like this. Your baby will never have hair like this. Feel Daddy’s hair.” I felt his hair. It was like cotton candy. “This is the hair your baby will have.” He then took my doll out of my hand. The doll who I played with more than my brothers and sisters. He took her and hid her behind his back. I never saw her again.

……I started panicking. Then out of his other hand, he gave me another doll. This doll was the opposite of the first doll. The first thing I noticed was her hair. It had coils, like mine. Her skin was deep and dark, like a  midnight ocean. Her eyes were as black as space.

……The doll’s name was Savanna. Savanna became my new best friend. She sat at breakfast with me. She was beside me in the car when the shadows stretched and rolled across us at night in the backseat. She was everywhere I was.

……However, she began to tear. A small tear where her legs met her back. She bled white blood. I panicked. She was in pain. I took her to my mother. She took out her cold thin needle and began to sew. I waited intently, holding my breath so I didn’t disturb my mother as she worked. Each stitch seemed like it hurt me more than Savanna. Savanna was strong. She will be fine. My mother saved Savanna and I was thankful. Then it kept happening. The stitches kept coming out. She dropped her white blood all over the floors in our house. If I happened to find it, I picked it up immediately and collected it to give to my mother. The rip got worse. And worse. My brother snatched her from me and swung her by the leg. She bled more. I screamed more. I ran to my mother hoping she would help as she did so many times before. Instead, she screamed, “I am tired of stitching up this damn doll!” My mother walked over to the window, spun Savanna in her hand gaining momentum, and flung her onto our neighbor’s rooftop. She needed help and I couldn’t reach her.

……From on top of a stool in the bathroom window, I could still see her. Only Savana’s tiny hand was visible. It was stretched out over the side of the roof, asking for me.

……With each passing season, I still visited my Savanna from the stool in the bathroom. When winter came, I saw her fingers covered in snow. I needed to make sure she didn’t have frostbite. In the summer, I panicked knowing she had no water. When it rained, I watched as the cold drops pounded on my baby over and over and over again. The weather was killing my baby. I needed to protect her.  I went to my father crying and told him what happened to Savanna. “Baby, you are too old for dolls” was his response. After three failed attempts to retrieve my baby from the rooftop, I unwillingly accepted her fate. She was exposed to the elements. The world was going to tear her apart. No one cared about her but me.


……As I grew, I no longer needed the help of the stool to view what was left of Savanna. After years, her hand still hung in a silent, sad call.

……She reached when I found “Dark and Lovely” to be oxymoronic.

……She still reached as I spread white paste in my hair and waited for the burn.

……When I realized perm couldn’t burn away my DNA, her little brown hand still stretched out to me. The scars of my blackened blood were invisible. 


…..She is still there.



……But, I’m much too old for dolls now. 



Kennidi Green is a nonfiction author from Maryland. Her writing draws from her own experiences as well from those around her. Kennidi is currently a graduate student at Notre Dame of Maryland University and will receive her master’s degree in Contemporary Communications in December.