On the Christening Day of Her Newborn
by liz dolan


Refueling on coffee after nursing
her infant through the night
my daughter overlooks
the two Ziploc bags
her four-year-old has stuffed
with tresses on the counter
one marked E for Ella,
the other L for Lulu.

Ella has returned the step stool
to its corner and the shears
to its high hook. Sprawled on the floor
two-year-old Lulu whose pony tails
have been hacked and bangs bristled plays
a felled elephant whose defunct trunk
Ella listens to through a stethoscope.

She has clipped her own hip length curls
above her ears. Small tufts sprout
on her head like sage brush.

My daughter, who understands loss,
gasps, presses her fingers against her lips.
How quickly, she says, we lose
control.






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