When I was 17 I brought home a puppy.
It was black and brown, with a small purple tongue.
It was squirming around and I held it,
with all that I had.
I held it with two hands and called it mine.
But you told me not to name it.
If you name it, you’ll keep it.
If you name it, you’ll make a bed for it.
If you name it, it’s home,
and it’s awfully hard to get rid of something with a name.
You drove me to an empty parking lot.
There was a crate under a streetlamp, a small bowl of water inside.
A safe haven for the unwanted.
But I cried when I put him in.
I cried when we drove off.
I cried, because I wanted that damn puppy
and his name was Rocky.
I learned that lesson well.
I held on to it,
tucked it back behind my rib cage,
right near my spine
so when I think about it hard enough
I get a single sharp pain right down my sciatic nerve.
A literal pain in the ass,
that’s memory .
That’s why I won’t name this thing.
When my therapist says, “Call it what it is.”
I tell her it’s a new found species.
Some undefined thing,
never before seen in the wild,
and I’ve got it almost tamed, I laugh.
Right here at my dining room table,
in my shower,
on top of me in bed.
I’m not naming this thing.
I don’t want hard to hold on to.
I don’t want another wedge jammed against my spine.
I have no room inside for this thing we’ve created.
These broken words.
This broken bed.
I’m not making it a home here.
I won’t name this thing.
©️ Laura A. Lord, 2020