I have a secret name, you know.
I know that it is a secret, because
even when I tell it to people,
they don’t believe me,
or else they laugh and say
it’s strange, and anyway,
they never use it.
It’s mine, and it echoes in my head
in someone else’s voice
(always, always in that voice,
because I clung to it,
and ran it through the ridges
of my mind, until it formed a groove,
like bony shoulders and long,
skinny arms around me.
Now I practice it every day,
for fear of letting it slip away.
It hasn’t gone yet.
It’s outlasted everything else.)
He has a secret name, too.
His is a funny thing, because
we found it after he died.
It came whispering into our minds
in poems and in pieces and
We use it amongst ourselves.
It starts with an X, or else a Z,
and it is part of a name that he
abandoned, or else never used,
like his grandfather before him.
I’ll whisper it to you.