Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez

Paper Doll

  1. My daughter imagines a new paper family. All women, all slender, all two-dimensional, easy-to-tear bodies. I watch her press clothing stickers to the dolls, complimenting each svelte figure’s style. Her tiny hands attempt steadiness as she snips the scissors along sagging edges. Everything must fit the dolls’ shapeless bodies just right. As she snips, I place my hand on the softness of my belly, remember how it felt when she stretched her limbs in my womb. I want to encircle my arms around her small frame, feel the warmth of my daughter. I tell her nothing’s as beautiful as flesh and bone. But she ignores me. Her scissors snip until the sticker falls away, the doll’s body a sliver of blank beige. I watch her press her thumb to the strip of paper, dragging it along the scissor’s blade until it ribbons. The doll’s body curls against the blade. My daughter’s eyes shine.

  2. Each day I witness my daughter crinkle to paper. At dinner she reaches for her fork, and I notice how the light shines through her hand. Her arms lose their shape. Her feet become folded strips that can barely hold her upright. I see her two-dimensional torso ribboning one morning as she dresses for school. I try to hug her and wince when I hear a rip.

  3. When her eyes become an outline on her papery-thin face, I beg her to return to her warm body. I hide her scissors, sweep up discarded scraps of paper. I tell her stories about her origins, about muscle memory and blood and the way my body once held hers. She frowns at my stories, asks if a human heart can be a planet of its own. I tell her about the constellations of her human body, a universe. She sips chocolate milk with a straw, stops after a few sips and tells me paper stomachs don’t need much. She tells me her heart’s a paper moon. She tells me the latest sticker trends will hold her together. When she thinks I can’t see her, she stands before her bedroom mirror, gliding her index and middle fingers down her waist, attempting steadiness as she snips herself away.

Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez                            

Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez resides in southern Colorado where she teaches, writes, and edits. Her recent work has appeared in The Lumiere Review and Apple in the Dark Journal and is forthcoming in The Pinch and the Indiana Review. Learn more about Adrianna at or follow her on Instagram @a.drisl.