Do You Have a Name?*

-for M-

Your mother is waking on the day you are born.*

The urgency of pain that kills older lives to bring forth new

Strength to endure softening bones,

Releasing new life with belabored pains

A new flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone

From blood springs forth new blood

A baptism in blood, pain, disbelief

Where is your father’s wedding ring?*

Where are his keys?*

What doors is he opening?*

Why has he shied away from this gruesome but life-giving event?

Why has he gone with another her on the day you are born,

Leaving Mother to realize she has been all alone all along?

A door closed to another, older life of what might have, could have been

What perhaps should not have ever been

A door closed and keys lost to your life

A door to violence and blood

Fatefully closed by unseen hands

Sons learn at their mother’s feet

But from their fathers

They see a fear that cannot be conquered,

A fear that turns the brave to cowards

Dropped in an unknown land, they flee

But every tree, ever rock remains the same

Have they not circled this way before?

Vultures above await for their carrion

A carcass of a life to shred and tear

Already dead, a life that once was

Your mother is awake now*

Your father falls asleep dreaming of yet another escape

*lines provided by Michael Hettich workshop at the Sixth Annual Sandhill Writers Workshop; the title was a line in the middle of the writing session and originally read “Do you have a human name? If not, what’s your name?”

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