Doll’s House, Provincetown Museum

Walk through the giant open jaws of the blue whale,

back toward the stunned faces of the china-headed

dolls wearing Victorian clothes and clutching real leather

purses to find the house that’s the size of a small gas

stove. Set on a three-foot platform so you can peer into

its windows, point at its tiny fixtures and the books

with real and separate pages, this house glows with

a softened light that draws us closer. Pressing a cheek

against the wooden siding, your nose to the windows,

you’ll discover thick plastic panels shielding its orifices

and rebuffing our fingers, the pincers and pads that long

to probe everything—the hurricane lamp half the size

of a pinky, the lovingly quilted coverlet, the perfectly

placed cup and saucer no one uses anymore. What

dreadful thing has happened to this family? Some hard

truth erupting among them on an otherwise quiet

evening, driving them out, inviting the transparent

barrier that makes it impossible to return.