“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 –
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.