Poetry: To Be Named After Everything and Out West I Would Wander…


To Be Named After Everything

Sometimes I forget I was a little girl
planting Barbies in red mud under

the plum tree, doll heads like wild potato.
What I hoped would grow. I forget

the girl carrying a tin watering can
through the dimming backyard,

who wore a denim conductor’s hat,
and checkered suspenders

who crayoned portraits of relatives
without proper bodies

floating heads, stick arms, stick legs
whose chartreuse fingernail traced

the plaster base of a ballerina figurine,
etching the name she wanted,

begging her parents
for a change. Lyla and Sam have a radio show

in Seattle. Transgender children,
eight-years-old and best friends who say

when we’re together, we forget
we’re any different.

Sometimes I forget I was a little girl
who wanted to be named after everything

and everyone she ever loved—
neighborhood boys and blue-striped pillows,

broken open plums and helicopters,
orange fish-shaped crackers.

From now on, call me Goldie.


Out West I Would Wander If It Weren’t for Other Webbs

We remain within arm’s length.
A bedside cigarette and matchbook.

White paper, black ink.
Yellow bulb, white shade.

This helix inside us whirls, privately
like the drunken debris of a 4 a.m. twister,

like the perpetual ricochet
of a centuries-old bullet.

How wandering will fix
the feeling we’re wasting our days.

How it won’t. Twin shadow,
shadow twin. Wonder—how? when?

Let the incessant checking […]

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KA Webb teaches at UAB and edits for an atl-weekly in Birmingham, Ala. where she was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for an investigative series on the Girl Scouts and trends in closing camps. Webb holds an MFA from UNCW, and in addition to several Southern news outlets, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in North American Review, Arts & Letters, Jabberwock Review, Quarter After Eight, So to Speak, and others.