Namegiver

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Kaylee Jeong

 
 


My name—divorced from the body—

was the only thing keeping me

 

from sailing. A forearm divorced

from the joint, the skin the only thing holding it

 

afloat. They said if you are overflowing

smother your dreams in the arms

 

of the mother. If you are hungry

keep it. There is always someone

 

hungrier—and there he is, crawling towards you

on two feet. Suffocated

 

by saltwater. Stitching together

two sides of an ocean

 

with the seam running through the front porch,

where shadowed figures rip up the hours

 

as a single mother frays

at their soiled fingertips. All of this

 

in a glass box, and the museum dark

and empty. One of us on either side,

 

unsewing. I think I call him

father, though I admit

 

I never saw his face. But I think

or would like to think he would

 

forgive me. If we are dislocated,

all the more reason.

 

He held me once. The way I remember this

is the way the ocean protested, and how

 

the showcase held it back. It’s true

he almost lost me. But I let him

 

steer my given name to safety

anyway, and when I remember him

 

it is to wonder where he is now.