He’d spent his life trying to control the names
people gave him;
Oh the unfair and the accurate equally hurt.
Just recently he’d been a son-of-a-bitch
and sweetheart in the same day,
And once again knew what antonyms
Love and control are, and how comforting
it must be to have a business card –
Manager, Specialist – and believe what it says.
Who, in fact, didn’t want his most useful name
to enter with him,
When he entered a room, who didn’t want to be
That kind of lie? A man who was a sweetheart
and a son-of-a-bitch
Was also more or less every name
He’d ever been called, and when you die, he thought,
that’s when it happens,
You’re collected forever into a few small words.
But never to have been outrageous or exquisite,
no grand mistake
So utterly yours it causes whispers
In the peripheries of your presence – that was
“Reckless”; he wouldn’t object to such a name
If it came from the right voice with the right
amount of reverence.
Someone nearby, of course, certain to add “fool.”