Because it is written

           "Because it is written, be ye holy, for I am holy." 
                                                   ~ 1 Peter 1: 15-16

Every letter is folded into a disguise— 

ships' billows across the water, a rose 
thorn scribbling a postscript on your hand. 

In the yard, the secretary spiders are still
working feverishly on their lines. 

What was it they were being punished for?

In the school play, the child says the one
line she has memorized: Fear not, for I 
bring you good news of great joy. 

We know 
what the angel must have said
because someone wrote it down. 

And someone entered your name on the birth 
record, though not the more homely name spun 
by your parents out of air: your secret.

Your mother's veins 
steeped in the scent of dry tobacco, spittle, 
and bitter gourds; your father's in the shape 
of a valley, church bells in a distant town. 

Your name bled from a rift 
in the clouds, where the ancestors 
dream of the last sweet they put in their mouths, 
the last book they read when they were alive.

What are we if not made of writing?*
What are we if not the conjurements 
we press upon time?

(*thanks to Mattie Britt from my Craft of Poetry class
for the line)

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