island of ships

my mother waited three days
to name me,
tracing the crib
she sang me little green
from the hospital bed
because new mothers
need all the help they can get
and joni said it best

born with the moon in cancer
choose a name she will answer to

my moon was elsewhere
in the sky but she draped
the choosing over every bed
watched it settle
until i showed her who i might be

every child in our kingdom
had been honeyhaired and here
i was, the colour of a new penny
with my father’s irish smile
my little laugh was a brook, flowing over
and spilling to the floor
reminding her of green sprites
in the forest, of mischief and joy
and the emerald hue of old stories

kelsey is gaelic for
island of ships, a magic truth
i have lived up to:

my sister
was named for the bird that
chases the summer season.
i have grown to be the safe
harbour she returns to, the island
fluent in holding steady as
those i love weather the heavy
work of seeking & breaking &
shining. i know best how
to be solid ground for
residual waves in the limbs.

in the tableau of what we inherit
i imagine my first three days
will mirror that of my mother’s
that i will trace the crib
and sing sufjan through my
tired tears

that i will lift and let fall
the names of my children
until they settle, calm and
bright to tell me who
i have introduced to this world.

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