In the tiny frame, my stricken 
face caught by the strobe of a flash
cube camera— Someone thrust
a bouquet of paper flowers into 

my arms.  Illness after illness,
mysterious little pandemics 
inside my cells. On his note 
pad, the examiner 

wrote of the thorax 
with a forward C.  Since then, 
I've straightened my spine. 
I ran away

from the man who'd cradled
my right foot in his hands 
to press on the insides of 
my arches.

It took five 
more years before I was taken
to church for a proper baptism.
I can't remember 

what other names I answered
to, or if this was why I tried to fold 
myself tiny: little skin, ghosting
around in a basket of lima beans.

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