Decked out, half cat, half goddess (pen thin whiskers, cape, and jumprope tail) the girl extols her sudden luck a door that locks, a costume box, a family not about to knock. Belief begins with ritual rehearsed: the way she waves a prism occasioning the exorcism of sawdust fauna, topless dolls, and heroes from an army set; how, long before a note can stir the mum balloon her brain contains, she’s finished growing singular, exacting love for this world she made herself the center of.

CAKI WILKINSON is the author of the poetry collection Circles Where the Head Should Be, which won the 2010 Vassar Miller Prize. Her second collection won the 2013 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award and is forthcoming from Persea Books.