What Bears Your Name


 Nancy Naomi Carlson

 

for Matthew, who lived 13 ½ hours

 

 

In Haifa an old cypress bears your name—

planted from seed to honor your one day

 

of life—above a bay I've never seen,

no doubt blue as your room, your layette sheets.

 

No way to hold back deserts. Miles and miles

away, still they invade our walled-in heights,

 

our measured roads, our album faces pressed

and saved. I should have named you Redwood, made

 

to last the wear of centuries, each growth

ring a celebration of your birth.

 

Or Air—fickle, but true. This atom raised

in hand or floating through me like a wraith,

 

might have brushed an ancient olive crest

or tamarisk, or blushed you pink with breath.