Besides your birth name, you were given 
another name from a secret baptism, meant 

to confuse spirits waiting to snatch you 
up at play or lead you to the well. You 

remember a bath towel, edge embroidered 
with daisy chains, threaded  with its 

syllables. It meant Girl with Chipped
Teeth, Girl with Scabbed Knees, Girl  

with pock-marked face. The towel dried 
in the open, a flag rigged to mean look 

away, she isn't who you want. Nobody said 
double or shadow. Outside in the world:

you stepped out of that jerry-built 
altar, careful to rinse the musk-smell 

of magnolias from your nape. You 
learned to answer but quietly. How long 

did it take before the two of you drew 
closer to one another, breathed 

in unison under blankets, clasped 
hands under a billow of netting. 


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