By Mike James
Before she chose her one new name, she trembled through a dozen baby books. Walked through library stacks and touched every Anna and Sylvia, all the Marianne’s, Eileen’s, and Audre’s. Said each in a slow whisper, elongating vowels into a wish. Now and then, imagined saying the name with a confident rasp. What she wanted was not a mark of winter, but spring’s first color and the alchemy of change.
Finally, the choice stood out as much as her dark over-tall frame, as much as her cliff-sharp cheek bones. Jacob, her former self, became a passenger on a bus headed to an endless west.
The directions were in the small compass of her hands.
About the Author: Mike James is the author of eleven poetry collections. His most recent books include: Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He has previously served as associate editor for both The Kentucky Review and Autumn House Press. After years spent in South Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, he now makes his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his large family and a large assortment of cats.