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Counting by Twos'
by M.J. Iuppa

A woman wishing to avoid conception would place
as many fingers in a child's first bath water as
she desired years free of pregnancy

‐Serbian Folk Tradition

You were not yet two weeks old
The umbilical stump curled
back on itself drying
It detached simply but
this did not separate us

The first bath was private
I immersed you
in lukewarm water and watched
your strong frog kicks‐I watched
what I had felt

and chose to dip two fingers
in your bath‐to be free
for each other‐
Your small hands clutching my fingers

First published in Rhino, and appears in the
chapbook Temptations (Foothills Publishing 2001).


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