Our name is the first secret we tell a stranger. I know from Sunday school that Father Abraham had many sons and God changed his name from Abram to Father of Many Nations as part of the promise. It was like smack talk—same as Deion Sanders, showing up to play ball. Here you call him Prime Time. Even before the pro contracts and Super Bowl rings—he is he that he says he is and woe to the Gators and Tigers who do not believe. “Danny Rand” won’t pack the punch of “Iron Fist.” Don Diego de la Vega is a cowardly fop. No one’s afraid of Bruce Banner. After the name change, Big Abe could roll up to Canaan, or wherever, with his flock and barren wife—a walking talking billboard, calling things that be not as though they be. His introductions functioned as prophecy: Hello, I’m the Father of Sand & Stars & Sons. Seems the name mattered. Even for God, the promise was not enough.
My father promised my mother they’d name all their kids with the letter “M.” My brother Michael’s babysitter was called Larissa—such a pretty name, my parents agreed. So I was born Marissa and some websites say the name’s from Mara, meaning bitter, or Mary, of the sea. It’s hard to tell, really—what secrets we keep locked in the chest. After the divorce, my dad broke his promise, naming his third and final child Joshua—the brother who watched Inspector Gadget and G.I. Joe; who played cowboy, loaded cap guns blazing through palmettos; a boy who was and is God’s way of saving us all.
MARISSA GLOVER teaches and writes in Florida, where she is co-editor of Orange Blossom Review. Marissa’s work has been published in journals such as Helen: A Literary Magazine, The Furious Gazelle, Ghost City Review, The Coil, and New Verse News. Follow her on Twitter @_MarissaGlover_.
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