Deadname

Stomp pink silk cursive into the dirt with your steel-toe boots and scrawl your new name in all-caps black Sharpie over the left pocket of your Carhartt jacket.

Two grandparents gave me a three-part name that four languages can pronounce in five syllables or less. Fancy and femme like a senior prom dress; not my style at all, but damn, I wear it well.

The zipper broke and the bodice slipped down my chest. It scrabbled for purchase against my breasts, but I had already pried them loose and they all fell together, tangles of tulle and blood and sinew crisscrossing the scratches in the gym floor varnish.

I picked it up, shook the debris off, took it to the dry cleaner and brought it home wrapped in snagged plastic. It lies in my mother’s hope chest, heart still beating, breathing sweet dreams of cedar until clever fingers unfold it for repair.

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