Learning the Meaning of Her Name

There was a little girl—often she pretended

her name was different—who believed words

were her saviors.  She liked to believe they were all

her friends, and thought how wonderful the wealth

of friendship she had in books, especially

the Oxford English Dictionary.  At sight of it

she would smile with delight: words multiplying

daily even, sometimes.  Sometimes, her

eyes would tell her things she could not understand,

so she turned to her friends to help her make sense

of them.  She would flip through the alphabet to see

what solace wait on the white of the page.  She would

take hours gleaning hope from her confidants, as she

told alpha’s and omega’s the story of her

eye’s witness.  The words arranged themselves

like waltzing in period clothing with gentlemen

bowing calling her My Lady.  Tenderly, they would

kiss her hand whispering, this too, my dear,


will pass.  When her eyes confess the look of tragedy

and despair, the words would bring Puerto Rican rebel pride

and hope of Martin Espada—a revolutionary

who was once profiled as some Islamic terrorist,

when she first met him—talking of cockroaches,

his large comforting face with passionate eyes

offered her the warmth of an embrace, yet

skin was never touched.  It was more moved

than anything.  His words…  Now his words…

When his words came to her, they would wrap

their arms, serifs, loops. lines, and angles around her

 weak, weeping frame, making her stand with courage

and faith of prayer to a God of Rilkean

wisdom.  A god that is wholly human. That is

when she liked to change her name, to one more

fitting of the comrades she was blessed to keep.