I Loved Saying My Father’s Name

By John McKernan

I would say it shooting free throws

It wasn’t voodoo It might have been a prayer

I would say his name in the Omaha snow

When I read my grandfather’s obituary

It was the first word I ever heard & spoke

It formed the letters on his wrist bracelet

I should have kept his Driver’s License

It keeps echoing my grandfather’s name

Susan whispered “You talk in your sleep”

In Boston they would call my father Sean

Hard to say his name in its granite voice

Tattoo in his skull Engraved on a needle

I tried to copy the voice of his handwriting

I can say his name without moving my lips

I enjoy saying his name only in my mind

That coffin name tag In case he gets lost

No one could tell I switched my name with his

I’ve never been a hummingbird or an herb

But I still want to switch my name with him

Not with vowels from history but those now


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