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The Girl That's Never Been
by Michelle Dockrey

Based on the short story "The Cheshire" by Bill Kte'pi

It was sixteen years ago, outside an aging movie show
I was found not knowing where I was that night
Not a thing did I possess but an old blue gingham dress
And a faded photograph in black and white
Now my memories are quite clear, even if I still can hear
All the shrinks who said some trauma was to blame
Light another cigarette, breathe in deep, try to forget
That it's a photograph of Dinah and that Alice is my name

Save me, save me, I've lost my memory
I'm outside the world looking in
Save me, save me, I'm lost in the memory
And I'd swear I'm a girl that's never been

Now it's all the life I knew, except I know it can't be true
I'm not her-- there's no such thing as Wonderland
Hold a steady job somehow, three months clean and sober now
Oh, the ways I tried to get back there again
"Try to move on, don't be sad--" so I placed a personal ad
I asked, why is a raven like a writing desk?
And on the phone, out of the past, so glad he's found me now at last--
And I'm afraid to go and meet him but I know my answer's yes

Save me, save me, I've lost my memory
I'm outside the world looking in
Save me, save me, I'm lost in the memory
And I'd swear I'm a girl that's never been
Just another city loner wearing sunglasses at night
Leather jacket, purple turtleneck and blue jeans worn too tight
Just a rummie by the jukebox in a casual curious pose
But I don't know how he knows the things he knows

Well he sits down with a grin, "Why little Alice, where've you been?
Not so little, not so Alice, now, are you?"
As he sips my untouched drink, I say "I can't be who I think"
He says "You are, and you're not, and I am too.
Are we figments of our gin? Are we long-lost orphaned kin?
Or the mad descendants of a writer's pen?
No one's sane behind their mask. Ask what you really want to ask."
And I close my eyes and whisper, "Can you take me back again?"

Save me, save me, I've lost my memory
I'm outside the world looking in
Save me, save me, I'm lost in the memory
And I'd swear I'm a girl that's never been

"Darling Alice, so bereft, there's no back-- you never left.
All the rhymes are still there waiting to be sung."
And he holds up in the air a little picture paper square
Slips between my lips and underneath my tongue.
"Shall I tell you now, Miss Little, what's the answer to the riddle
Of the raven that you used to send your call?"
He takes the glasses off to see, yellow cat's eyes turn on me, and says,
"It's nothing like a writing desk at all."

Save me, save me, I've lost my memory
I'm outside the world looking in
Save me, save me, I'm lost in the memory
And I'd swear I'm a girl that's never been
And he faded, leaving nothing but a grin.