Monday, April 26, 2021

A Poem Named Mark

This is named Mark. That’s fact.
What that fact means can’t be
Just fact. Names start stories.

As a child with this name,
I hated not having
A good choice of nicknames,

But now I like the name.
To be named as a mark
Means a life on the page,

And here we are, all marks,
Are we not? Marks or bits
That glow to look like marks.

So then, what’s the story?
What’s this story named Mark?
Not much. When did this start?

Where do I start? With birth?
The day my parents met?
Family history?

I could start with the name.
I as I began then
As much as any when.

No one had been named Mark
On either parent’s side.
As a teen, I dabbled

In genealogy
But never found a Mark,
So it occurred to me

To ask my parents why
They’d picked this name for me.
Because no one had it,

My mother said, no one
From either family
Would feel like we’d favored

My side or your father’s.
And it seemed, she added,
Like a good, Gospel name.

Was I marked, then, forgive
More punning, please, to be
Strange in my family?

Would I have been slightly,
Even a lot less me,
If I’d been a Junior

Or named for some uncle?
Dumb counterfactuals.
Of course, and why bother

To ask what we can’t know
For certain, in detail?
A human baby, born

With a glass set of bones
But otherwise healthy
In northern New Jersey

Was named Mark, became Mark,
And lived to waste some time
Writing a poem named Mark.

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