"My mother and I often took a bath together. Sometimes it was just a plain bath, which did not take very long. Other times it was a special bath in which the barks and flowers of many different trees, together with all sorts of oils, were boiled in the same large cauldron."

Annie describes this scenario in the beginning of the second chapter, "A Circling Hand." The initial portions of this chapter describe Annie's early childhood with her mother. Annie views that early world as a paradise in which her mother and she were completely united. The ritualized baths were particularly intimate scenes during which the mother and daughter almost joined their bodies back together, as they had been before Annie's birth. Since Annie desires to stay permanently united with her mother, these moments of bathing represent some of her happier times with her mother. As the novel continues, Annie's ability to enact the intimacy that these baths created will fail. Annie spends the majority of the book fighting against the idea that she and her mother are separate people.