You asked me what my name was
and when I said Lisa, the syllables
left my mouth no longer lonely
like ocean is lonely, like body,
but full of sound, the kind
that could roll into each ear
and reverberate. And when you
smiled, repeating it, Lisa,
I finally understood
the importance of one's name.
How naming something lends
it a certain uniqueness, alters
the destiny of it or in this case,
To make Lisa into something
she was not took courage,
to build up what she kept
denying herself, length.
Depth and purpose.
You came after me,
dark and determined.
Never was I baby, darling,
princess. And yet,
there were also those times
you tried to simplify me,
calling me Lis, as if the closing
vowel at the end carried too much
weight, reminding you of motherhood.
A swollen belly that you would
be held responsible for, the rest
of your life. I flourished
under the amplification of my name
as it found itself on your tongue.
I suppose it happened I wanted
nothing else but to hear you say it.
Look, you're laughing.
I know because I can hear it.
The night you spoke it for the last
time, we had just come home
through the rain from a football
game. Our team had lost.
You'd been quiet all evening.
I could feel my sense of calm
wandering as you said it.
Lisa, I think we should see
other people. You watched
as heartache went through me,
as I gathered what little I had
and broke free, walking, running
in the opposite direction.
I noticed you didn't call after me
so I ran faster, three miles
through a monsoon storm to
arrive at my mother's house.
Sweetheart, she said. Not Lisa.
Sweetheart, what is it?
words: Lisa Zaran, Arizona (lisazaran)
photo: Dorothee Lang, Germany (oil on copper)