My grandmothers gave you presents.
Yellow hand-knitted booties,
The very same pattern my father wore once
And so did I.
A white cloth to wrap you in
Embroidered with a bumble bee.
For days they seemed to herald
Your presence –
Feet that would curl into them
A body damp and warm
And small enough to hold.
Now they cup emptiness.
I fold them away to save for another.
I will not even give you a name.
But I give you all the names.
The silly names we giggled over late at night.
The beautiful names, the old names,
Far too pretentious to actually use.
Now you can have them all:
The strong names, the bright names,
The storybook names, the wicked names,
The simple, lovely names we weighed on our tongues
Like smooth pebbles.
Have them all.
I’ll weave them into a coat of many colours
Fit for a favoured child.
Being spun of words, it may have holes
(How poorly the letters knit together)
But it will be pretty.
The coat will glitter in the dark like a fiery rainbow,
Like a cloud of bees.
And if, where you’re going, you do not need it, well,
Leave it behind.