My Mother’s Name

“we gave you this name because 

it fits you just right;

you’re full of love,” you told me once.

i realized i can’t name you in return; 

you veto’d “mommy” years ago.

these days i have the urge to call you “mama”

(a word i never used before i turned twenty one,

and may never use again) – 

an urge so strong it slipped out when you left for work –

“bye, mama!”

the garage door rattled shut

and reminded me:

i could not name you with a child’s untrained mouth,

not even now.

Poem. Published in Matchbox Magazine, Vol. 13, 2019.