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She’s building you paper kingdoms today,

practical shrines, as she practices

your figure in the alphabet

over and over in wobbly orange crayon.


I show her your form in strict black ink,

and I notice your rigidity—

steady straight top soldered

to your ramrod spine.


But your curved belly reveals

you were meant to cradle things:

water, sweet apples, the tiny buttons of a spine

holding together a whole dark universe.


Raleigh Review 2010