Thursday, July 19, 2012
The New Name
The boy shivered, listening to a distant mortar fire.
Around him other children cried softly,
drowsing only in the lightest dreams,
avoiding the deep pools of sleep.
The boy fingered dog-tags under his shirt,
feeling the rough letters and whispering the new name.
This was his nightly prayer,
his rosary, his Greatest Name.
His own small name had lately become
too familiar to the angel of death and so he let it go,
letter by letter,
sound by sound,
along with the memory of his mother's face,
his father's voice,
his right leg.
The man who had worn the name no longer needed it,
indeed, had held it in outstretched hand as he lay
eyes and heart open to the sun, wind, moon and stars.
The boy had taken it gently from his hand,
had traded names with the open man,
had gone back to wait with the other children--
telling them stories of his new name
and the trick he would play on everyone,
on the world,