Elizabeth, my name, but my grandmother’s first
I would not have minded it on its own,
but I am not fond of sharing.
I’ll tell you what the name stirs in me
now after a life of living in it.
(A shrieking kettle blisters at the touch.
You’ll steep the name into ceramic and tame it with syrup.
It will grow cold on a windowsill until tomorrow.
A bird will chip his beak on the glass, longing for a bath.
It’s uncut grass rippling against an autumn wind,
the honeysuckle stolen from my neighbor’s fence,
the sour milk from the goat we could not sell
for you loved it like a child.
The crib we made and then put away,
the name we chose
and could never speak again.
Yet I would not have minded it on its own.)
god learned to spit with perfect aim
out the same mouth that blessed us.
the god who left me on a forest floor–
an unthing to watch from the canopy,
a body filled with blue-hot coal,
without flaw but the crack in my lip
that split with every simper,
a beating heart for a compass, and
the size of god’s palm at my navel.