Naming the Roses

Name Me

The power of naming is two-fold: naming defines the quality and value of that which is
named—and it also denies reality and value to that which is never named, never uttered.
That which has no name is rendered mute and invisible: powerless to claim its own
existence … this has been the situation of women in our world.

                   —B. Dubois, as quoted in Convicted Survivors: The Imprisonment of Battered Women Who Kill                                                                                                                          by Elizabeth Ann Dermody Leonard


Name me the girl
with the slate-blue eyes,
the girl who sits under the apple tree,
your apple-cheeked bride.

Name me your lover—

the mother of your eight-pound baby boy.

Name me sugar lips.
Name me honey-girl.
Name me sweet potato pie.

Name me the woman
with the black and blue eye.

Name me white roses.
Name me I swear baby.

Name me crushed larynx.
Name me fractured mandible.
Name me but I was high baby;
it don’t count when you’re high.

Name me whore.
Name me get in that fuckin’ kitchen,

Name me dislocated shoulder.
Name me what ya gonna do,
have me arrested?

Name me I dare you
to try and leave me.

Name me the woman
with seven broken toes.

Name me the cunt
you tell not to make
a sound.

Name me tramp, slut, ugly
ball and chain.

Name me the woman you love

to get up against the wall
and fuck with your .38.

Name me the woman
who found the dog
lying in a pool of blood
outside our daughter’s door.

Name me the one who dug
the dog’s grave; posted lost signs
the next day with our kids.

Name me the mother of children
who will never be safe.

Name me sleepless.

Name me the little missus
who bought a 9 millimeter.

Name me shows no remorse,
name me guilty as charged.

Name me not sorry.

Name me widow.
Name me the woman in cell C-15.

Name me free.

Selected Poems and Works by Kim Noriega Available Online

“Sacrifice” (Poetry) in Arsenic Lobster, Issue 23, Summer 2010
“Heaven, 1963” (Poetry) in American Life in Poetry, July 2007 #120
“Postcard to My Younger Self Beneath the Apple Trees” (Poetry) in The Tishman Review, January 2017
“Wish You Were Here from Beneath Seven Full Moons” (Memoir) in Split Lip Magazine, August 2017