Rachel Belth

On Marrying into an Alliterated Name

For my niece Rahab Rethorn, flower girl at my wedding.

 

Rahab touches the roses in her hair.

 

Rahab wants to try the wheat thins in the dressing room.

 

Rahab likes tomatoes.

 

Rahab’s doll has a matching dress.

 

Rahab sneaks into a bridesmaid's empty chair with a smirk.

 

Rahab stands still while her mother curls her hair.

 

Rahab lets me hold her hand repeatedly throughout the day.

 

Rahab lets me pick her up and hold her on my hip.

 

Rahab touches the roses in her hair.

 

Rahab says, “Mommy told me I have to smile.” I tell her I don’t care whether she smiles or not. Rahab says, “Mommy told me I have to smile.”

 

Rahab wants to whisper in my ear even though no one else is around to hear what she says.

 

Rahab touches the roses in her hair. They are wilting from so much touching.

 

Rahab asks for the pink lipstick.

 

Rahab tugs at the gaps in her lace dress and says, “It's like yours.”

 

Dear Rahab, I am new to this. How does one wear an alliterated name? How do I walk or talk or be? Tell me how to belong.

 

Oh, I wouldn’t even know where to start.

 

Rachel Belth is an instructional designer, creative nonfiction writer, and poet. Her poetry has appeared in Bitterzoet Magazine and The Prompt, among other places, and she volunteers as a copyeditor at the literary website Identity Theory. She holds a B.A. in Technical and Professional Communication from Cedarville University. She writes from an east-facing window in Columbus, Ohio. Rachel Belth’s married name is Rachel Rethorn.

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