The Surrogate

When I was born I was not given
a name equivalent to “Fragrant
Blossom” or “Perfect

Fulfillment.” It took
six years before they
found me ready for a rite

of baptism. Was it because
I was sick so much, shortly
after exiting the womb?

Instead of candle
flame and holy water,
they wished to trick

the gods into believing
I was some wolf child
or changeling,

some stray that came
limping into a basket left
at the door. They called me

with strings of syllables,
sounds made by clicking
the tongue against

the roof of the mouth—
my first lullabies, shadows of
the child I should have been.

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