Zandra Miller had always hated her name.
Her father, the town lawyer, bestowed it--
thinking it sounded like Persian chandeliers.
When she was five, he had turned it exotic--
like anything not of the mountains.

After the explosion in Jenson's barn
that singed off her hair,
her father forced her to wear
sunbonnets and mob caps--
he said it was more stylish.
He stroked the new growing hair
and those long dark nights began.

He called Doc Nancy,
the old midwife, out twice
and told them both to keep
the shame quiet.

Zandra took everything on faith.
Took her tests, received her marks,
taught school in Marble Springs.
Her father drank away her money each week.
Her kerosene evenings faded
into smudged essays long past dark
until she could hear her father snore.
Then she brushed her waist-length hair
until it crackled in her hands.

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Zandra Miller

Daughter of Abigail and Asa Miller,
Marble Springs' lawyer. Schoolteacher for Marble Springs. Unmarried.

Let the hair be ever so tawdry, broken, or dull of appearance, this preparation will increase its growth and impart a beautiful shine. Boil a double handful of leaf sage with one-half teaspoon of salt and sulphur in one quart water. Strain into a large bottle, add as much quinine as you can hold on a knife blade, five cents worth of bay rum, and ten cents worth of witch hazel. Apply to the scalp nightly with vigor.

Asa Miller's contribution to the Marble Springs Caller, August 24, 1884.

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