Uncovered in his isolette, patches taped over his eyes, the baby lies hot and quaking in the light as my hand hesitates over the chalky shell, the room sounding its clicks and soft alarms.
Ex opere operato, the sacrament draws its holiness from the work done, not the purity of the practitioner, but every pettiness, every scalding word and deliberate ignorance crowds behind my eyes, in the crevices between wrist bones, along my ears’ creases.
The mother shifts in her wheelchair, adjusts her milk-heavy breasts, sighs. I wet my fingers, slide them cool along the newborn brow, into the soft dip of fontanel, and say the words.
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