Making Witch Bottles With My Mother

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A midwife—she reaches
for the flower’s afterlife and dyes

it with a puddle of St. Germain. We’re dealing
in floral ghosts & flakes of paint

curved over our fingertips,
abalone crescents. I have been

told to chant words of protection—
cornstalk & eucharist. She says

I’ll think of the bottles
on my wedding night, but probably

much sooner. She says it’s okay
to be stained with a world

of misunderstanding—body & body
& somewhere

souls knocking on the underbellies
of skin, sometimes bodies

just on the threshold of a forgotten
knowing, sometimes mistaking

the before-life for sleep.

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