Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jonathan David

In the wet wax of the womb,
I was called Jonathan David.
It's a beautiful name -
biblical and boy.
I turned out to be neither.

From the first flower and star
of my cells in that primeval place,
I was clad in the skin
of a first born son.
My father spoke my sex
to the span and swell of my mother's belly.
He caressed and coaxed the chromosomes.
He called me to crown and come -
a reflective surface
in which he could see himself
reborn.
But, I formed girl.

My mother gave me a name
inspired by some actress or another.
It's Irish, and I've heard
it means "warrior."
Appropriate enough, considering
the adventures I've had
and the trouble I've been.
I've grown up
and grown into it, I guess.

Still, I sometimes wonder if my father
would have been able to forget me
so easily if I was Jonathan.
And, does he ever regret not seeing
that a warrior can also be
a gift of God.

Note:  In Hebrew, Jonathan means "gift of God."

For Grapeling's Little Prince word list at Real Toads.  I was inspired by the descriptions of the  foolish, narrow-minded adults the Prince encountered.

16 comments:

Lorraine Renaud said...

and yet, yet you are the Queen Bee, you write Bloody Zen, would a boy have done so, I think not? 'sides maturity factor leaves a lot to be desired and you remain Mama Zen

Kerry O'Connor said...

This poem speaks volumes. As a mother of two daughters, I have always been infuriated when people have expressed the regret that I never had a boy. Luckily, their father was not like the man you depict in this poem, though there are probably more than a million of them out there and not shining like stars.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this, Kelli.....makes me think of the documentary Girl Rising, which you must watch with your daughter - about how girls in developing countries have so little chance, are not valued, denied an education - yet, when someone helps them, oh how they Rise. Fantastic film!

hedgewitch said...

An excellent, tightly composed narrative, MZ, that yet sacrifices no note of emotion or insight in the telling, but as good writing should, rather illuminates them. Also, nice job at making the word list vanish seamlessly into your thoughts and ideas.

Susan said...

I saw no word list here, just an amazing description of a young girl who knows she is not wanted right from the womb. Great wondering at the end, fine choice of point of view. This girl's voice doesn't have Mama Zen's caustic-ness, but the frame is in place so your meaning is unmistakable.

Sylvia K said...

This is terrific, superb and very moving. Thanks, MZ, as always!!

ccchampagne said...

I really hope this isn't biographical... It is very touching, and very sad but also very, very well written!

Fireblossom said...

I am glad that you are exactly as you are. Much the gladness, in fact!

Kathryn said...

Sad with overtones of strength and uniqueness. Would never have guess there was a word list involved.

Sioux said...

Yes, I'm with everybody else. The fact that you used a word list was not apparent at all.

(And "The Little Prince" is one of my favorites.)

ayala said...

Sad and yet powerful. Glad you are who you are.

Hannah said...

I love this...you often bring such hard topics with such poignant pen and in such a creative way...magic really.

Your daughter has such a gift in you and vice versa...warms my heart.

Excellent work this month MZ!!

Sumana Roy said...

The poem does have a familiar ring to many a soul here(india) ...the
lines are so poignant...

Outlawyer said...

Really well done. Thanks. I am too tired to say more! But wonderful. k. (Manicddaily)

Susie Clevenger said...

My mother told me once I was the son my father never had...I am not sure how to take that, but thankfully he and I were close. How painful to be a disappointment because you failed to be the preferred gender....a very moving piece.

grapeling said...

Ah, Kelli - I've so admired your work (not just April, but all of it) - and this pen underscores my admiration. You've masterfully (and I use that term advisedly and without the typical gender bias) managed the word list so that it disappears completely and utterly into the frame of the pen. Terrific description of the type of chauvinism that deserves to lie in the ground and never return - and as with the other commenters, I feel fortunate that you've transformed that exclusion into a most beautiful art. Thank you for contributing to my little prompt ~ M