Monday, March 14, 2011


Everyone I love is named

after characters in

favourite books. When I

met you each,

children were jealous.

Their names are not

ink-shot like black silk

on wings of beetle paper

Don’t make their

monikers out loud.

Choose your family:

I have so many mothers

we all milk up somewhere

I am multiple daughters

with so many children

endless brothers and grandkids

Take much care (remember this)

so every little forehead




is cupped with both hands,

drawn from blank pages

and kissed and kissed and kissed again.

On the days when

morning is a mountain

remember the novel

bramble of unrelated family

black tangle and admire

the fruit in our blood.










Today's poem is based on suggestions from two peeps and an aunty:

  • @sorrel_smith: "When you meet someone who's named their kids what you wanted to name your kids, but couldn't"
  • @realnixwilliams: "picking blackberries!"
  • Janet Punch: "mothers and daughters"

You know that old saying "friends are the family you choose"? That's crap. Firstly, friends aren't a supermarket, and secondly, once you leave home you can choose your family.

Onoma is Greek for 'name'.

I have been reading Siri Hustvedt's new novel 'The summer without men', and it is wonderful in all sorts of ways. At the end of a crappy day, this passage where she briefly addresses us as readers surprised me into tears:

"But before I get to that, I want to tell you, Gentle Person out there, that if you are here with me now, on the page, I mean, if you have come to this paragraph, if you have not given up and sent me, Mia, flying across the room or even if you have, but you got to wondering whether something might not happen soon and picked me up again and are reading still, then I want to reach out for you and take your face in both my hands and cover you with kisses, kisses on your cheeks and chin and all over your forehead and on the bridge of your (variously shaped) nose, because I am yours, all yours. I just wanted you to know."

It is unexpected to be suddenly loved by a book.


nixwilliams said...


Laura said...

I like it.

ern malleys cat said...

I'm not sure why, but I find the




spaced out there really moving.

Anna said...

I'm not sure why I do too.

I thought slowly of my small boy's face. How his is soft and clear, but so many aren't. And how they all should be clear like his.