I was first christened with the name Mercedes.
was thinking of cars.
I was not the first love of Gabriel García Márquez
Nor did my mother impart a name
of complicated love.
She thought it should be Margot,
As in goat,
She tried to paint me when I was still
inside of her, give me fingers and hair
that she had invented.
They decided on Meredith.
Classic, my mother said.
My father liked the “-dith”.
My father used to call me a nightmare
when I was slipping fast asleep
to the thunderstorm song on my CD player.
“Night mere”, he’d say,
mixing with the sounds of storms,
I learned to love the sound of thunder
softened by evening rain.
Meredith was muddled by grade school.
The name became a disyllabic blunder
pronounced by my peers without the middle ‘e’,
the letter lodged in the mess
of gap tooth misplacement.
Upon leaving my birthplace of Chicago,
I was no longer referred to as Mer-death
out of sheer laziness, vowels that
crept up in the mouth like fire ants,
an accent that crawled of home.
My name was spoken
in beautiful polysyllabic ease, proper phonetics
that hit my ears with the sensation of cool water.
I felt myself opening quite loud and quite new.
No longer a ghost of parental creation,
I was unworldly; my name free to roam.
I learned to surround myself
with people worth haunting,
Made love, choices and dreams
that I had invented.
I want to make name-seals to roll onto your surface,
Press stamps of ancient ink
enough to make you know me,
To feel the arcs of letters
lilt your skin like tattoo marigolds.
I revel in the second ‘e’,
A syllable I’ve sworn company to,
a jewel I’ve discovered
far from home.
I want nothing more
than to provide pronunciation,
Introduce myself as that prism of seamless speech
I know I can be,
(The origin of language light
not yet known).