With a feeling of sorrow, I consider the poor turtle, out of breath on my rug.
Every morning as I trip, groggily, out of bed,
I nearly step on my girlfriend’s pet, Berdie
(as quick as a turtle can)
for cover from my monstrous, stretching feet.
Oftentimes, people misunderstand her name,
“Oh, how adorrrrrable, a turtle named after a bird…”
“Berdie” is short for Roberta…
But it’s mornings such as this that I can begin to see the irony in such a name.
Perhaps there is something held within the first words of our introductions,
“Hi, I’m James,”
much more powerful than cute pets
and first impressions.
My lover’s pet is named Berdie,
because she longs for wings
to soar from certain death upon my bedside rug.
If she were a mimicking bird, she would squawk,
for every time I’ve nearly crushed her in the dark.
The whale is named for its songs,
cast out, carried over ocean waves,
to reel in lost family.
If you listen closely to the soundtrack of a nighttime beach
you can hear the wails of longing.
My mother’s name is Nature
because her eyes are calm like that of a hurricane
and her hand can cure the skinned knees and broken hearts
of life’s storms and rainy days.
My father, his name is Moon
because his face lights up when he smiles,
and his light guides through dark nights,
because, as his shift ends, the sun will take over.
I am that Son.
Born of nature and moon.
I share the calm green eyes of nature
and, as a teen, reflected the moon’s cratered complexion.
I am James Barger,
and you might be able to see more in a name,
far beyond the first words of our introductions,
but I promise
that I will always be