I wrote the poem below at about 1am this morning, after re-visiting this old photograph yesterday. I had been thinking about what I could contribute to The Egg, The Womb, The Head and the Moon. I had to get out of bed, even though I was exhausted, and empty the words out of my head before I could sleep. That happens sometimes.
Two poets brainstorm names for their unborn twins
At least one of them is a girl.
Here are the rules:
they cannot begin with the same letter:
Florence and Francis – fifteen –
reading each other’s mail.
They must not rhyme
(no, not even a half-rhyme).
But the arrangement of vowels must be pleasing
a mildly irregular rise and fall –
not a heartbeat, or footsteps –
more like rolling hills, with the occasional
No names of exes.
No, not even girls you fancied.
Not the same name as the girl who pulled your pigtails,
or the one with the terrible shoes.
In fact, no name the same as anyone you or I have ever met.
It’s better to start with a blank canvas
No names anyone might ever give to an animal,
especially a horse.
Nothing in the Top 100 Baby Names
or the Bible.
No Kings or Queens
Definitely NO PRINCESSES.
Definitely NOT PERSEPHONE.
No names invoking alcoholic beverages
(apologies to Jack and Daniel – grandsons
of the woman in the bathroom store),
and beautiful islands
we have both read their work/
When we obtained consensus,
I told my dad. He said,
it doesn’t scan.
I said I know, and me a poet too.
when they came to us they came to us whole
and were what they were:
fiercely individual and inextricably linked.
I couldn’t change them because I didn’t choose them.
They simply emerged, like the babies did,
and told us they were here.