When I went to pick my daughter up at pre-school,
the kids were on the playground. Her teachers
eyed me uncomfortably and glanced across
the slide at each other before one finally explained
that they had asked the kids, earlier, what sort
of pet was their favorite. My daughter had said
she wanted a dog. When they asked what
its name should be, she’d said, “Lucifer.” They went
quiet to see my reaction. I laughed and explained
that the name came from Disney’s Cinderella. Forced,
relieved chuckles followed. “That must be it,” one
said. I corralled my daughter, making sure to have
her say goodbye to the teachers, and tried not to remember
being labelled a Devil Worshiper when I grew up
in the Bible Belt, how that meant ostracization,
police harassment. She ran ahead to the tiny bench
by the school door, sat, and asked me to sit beside her.
“I’m too big,” I said. “But I’ll watch you.” And she turned
her face to the sun and smiled out at the world.
(Originally appeared in SubtleTea.)
CL Bledsoe is the author of thirteen books, most recently the poetry collections Riceland and King of Loneliness, and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in Northern Virginia with his daughter.
Image: By Unknown – Livre de la Vigne nostre Seigneur; fol. 067v France ca. 1450-1470, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39892182