#293

Sarah Mazzetti
A girl named Jack by Jacqueline Woodson
Good enough name for me, my father said
the day I was born.
Don’t see why

she can’t have it, too.

But the women said no.
My mother first.
Then each aunt, pulling my pink blanket back
patting the crop of thick curls
tugging at my new toes
touching my cheeks.
We won’t have a girl named Jack, my mother said.
And my father’s sisters whispered,
A boy named Jack was bad enough.

But only so my mother could hear.
Name a girl Jack, my father said,
and she can’t help but

grow up strong.

Raise her right, my father said,
and she’ll make that name her own.

Name a girl Jack

and people will look at her twice, my father said.
For no good reason but to ask if her parents

were crazy, my mother said.
And back and forth it went until I was Jackie
and my father left the hospital mad.
My mother said to my aunts,
Hand me that pen, wrote
Jacqueline where it asked for a name.
Jacqueline, just in case
someone thought to drop the ie.

Jacqueline,  just in case
I grew up and wanted something a little bit longer
and further away from
Jack.
More art by Sarah Mazzetti here.
Recommended listening: Million Fans – RDGLDGRN
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