Favorite Words

"Mommy," she asked from the backseat, "How do you spell 'pain'?"

I wince, and respond, "P-A-I-N." I want to ask her why? What could she be writing. This isn't a word I want for her to know.

We'd been discussing our favorite words. "My favorite word is Joy," she told me. I smiled - she loves my name. I love their names - I chose them with so much care. I wanted them to feel like princesses when they introduced themselves, but also wanted them to have shorter, sensible names to use every day. I named them like artists or Supreme Court justices. Evangelina and Liliana - Eva and Lily.

My favorite word is "poem." It fills my mouth from front to back, back to front, echoing like a meditation bowl. When I say "poem," bells ring that it's time for church. The people inside me kneel to pray, eyes cast down.


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