your name, Nephew,
is too light for my mother
who spent her summers deep in the heart
where she had no roof—only the cover
of thin dry branches
and her prayers for no rain;
she wishes to dirty you up
in the dark unclean waters where
she and her sisters bathed.
even your brother—flesh like the blanket of fresh Traverse City snow—
wants to see a truer name—
written on your birth certificate:
at age six even he knows that a name must match
a skin tone (or at least the heritage of one).
your name is now just a letter;
and as you sleep inside
my sister’s worn, teaming womb,
i make your middle name the only name
you will ever need—
the only name my grandfather
can rattle off in his Spanish-thick tongue.