December 14, 2006

Naming

Alasdair – Naming You.

I.
I waited for you,
Standing beside the worktop,
Watching you grow beneath our mother’s hands,
Squirming and kicking,
Insistant and fretful.

But you could not escape,
You were tied by a bond that,
Even now, you cannot break.

I would shiver with a loneliness I couldn’t name,
And longed to see you as more than a part,
More than a nameless dream.

II.
Insert –

the missing piece into my wooden jigsaw,
left out on the kitchen table.

Insert –

and play forgetfully because
you will not fit.

Insert –

but pretend the space is still empty;
I cannot dream you are here.

II.
Name you Polly,
my name if I had only
existed twice.

Name you Hester –
a girl who does not like
damp rags across a steaming floor.

Name you Patrick,
cover your mouth,
stifled with mud pies.

Name you Matthew -
let me cry over you,
as, aged fifteen, you let the grass grow on you, a second skin.

Name you and smile,
for I cannot spell
you, and my thoughts as I stray
to my repeated – “a”.

IV.
I did not have the chance to worship you,
I cannot want the chance –

If it’s a boy, give it away.

I did not have the chance to take your hand,
and lead you through into the glaring white.

When will it be old enough to play with?

I did not have the chance to breathe
between your first smiles.

Play school.

I did not have a chance to watch you smile,
as I concentrated on seeing you.

V.
I did not give you away,
and I was too old to play with you,
and you got bored,
playing school.

But now I can watch you,
breathing through your cold,
pushing reddened hands through too-long hair,
smelling of overdone deodorant.

Now I can watch you,
see you.

For, now, I can name you.


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