4/18/16 Naming


I cannot remember all of their names.
There is only this one, and this one,
and this one, and on and on.
And there is the way that the light plays
against their leaves,
the leaves shaping it, and holding it,
gathering it up
as the breath of the air makes it all
into a dance.
You tell me this is Columbine, and this
is Hollyhock, and this is Lupine.
All I see is light, light, light.


At three you are speaking,
whether understood or not.
You spell your name with pride –
You feel and are fueled by our excitement
over your proclaimation of how to make an H,
“down, down, and across!”

Everything is slowly coming together into
the world of names, a great big net.
Only sometimes, things slip through,
like when, in such excitement, you called
our names, around the table –
“Sassy, and Betsy, and that one, and this one!”

I’ll take “that one.” I am happy to exist for you
in the way that I feel the plants in the garden –
a shimmering, shifting mirage,
unable to be pinned down.

After all, aren’t we all really unnamable?


Everything is starting to simplify.

I see you, playing with Belle,
your worn wrinkled hands meeting
her fleshy smooth skin.

The cycle is completing itself,
a great spiral,
hers widening, yours closing.
And here, the meeting point.

Both of you innocent to the
complications of the world.
Both of you, alive and meeting
in that innocence, in a way that
many adults cannot.

Yes, for you, there is only this
one bright moment;
everything else forgotten,
everything else unknown.

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