Tag Archive for 'choosing baby names'

The Naming, by Anna Wildfong

The Naming
By Anna Wildfong

We start suggesting names
for the new boy or girl
in the seventh hour of interstate 80
   the first week
   into your second trimester

Beau is too country for a kid
who will grow up in the farmhouse
we are headed toward
with cows and
a high tunnel greenhouse
   we all agree
when we stop for gas in Pennsylvania

I pass a young man crouching
over a magazine filled with
naked women on my way
to the bathroom
and can only guess he is named
after his father who has a similar
build and haircut
and eyes the same women
when he comes to fill up.
   I imagine the ladies who pose like that
     do not use their real names anymore

From your home on the farm we
head toward the city on the train
   I throw Pete out
as we pass along the Hudson
   with ice that is cracking
   and shifting with the current
but Pete was an old boyfriend
and we think about breakups
   West Point on the other side of the river

The streets in Manhattan
have numbers instead of names
for the most part and
   Madison is the only one
   I remember

When we make our way to Chelsea
and see the Hotel I suggest Patti
   but no one likes that
because it is too androgynous, although
   I liked the man
   who wore a silver necklace with
   big pieces of amber
   on 42nd

We stop for falafel after
the Museum of Modern Art
I was toying with Dorothea or Franz
   you only added that the baby
   was now the size of a falafel patti
   and took a bite and smiled

We consider borrowing names
from other languages
on the subway
   my legs touch strangers
   we inhale each
   other’s breath

We run out of names at the Greyhound Station
when security guards are
confiscating steak knives.
We figure one will come
to us in the next few months
   when I come to visit again.

Perhaps when you are in Central Park
watching men rollerskate
you will find a name to straighten
your child’s teeth,
give him a walk
that will carry him across
   fields and onto the
   train platform
   into the lettered subways
of New York City

Anna Wildfong currently lives and works in Chicago and has been published in The Red Cedar Review. She studied creative writing at Michigan State University and is originally from Ferndale, Michigan.




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