“This is a Way of Naming” by Tina Mozelle Braziel

how even come midnight
that mockingbird repeats
a wren’s tart call, the pitch-high
sigh of porch swings, the creaking frog song.
Mockingbird ajazz with naming
his love, he tastes
every echo’s tone

for the ways it woos her,
yet hungers for that grain
of quiet, its tang hanging
between those mimicries. From that hush
he will weave a melody, his
own whispering
name for her. He savors

its timbre, how it fits
the exact shape of her
who returns to him each spring.
Like the mockingbird who sings all night,
I’m calling you names from old-time
love songs: sugar
sugar, my honey

baby, my love at last.
Or tomato, because
of the pining ache I hear
when two-year old Emma begs “mato
mato” from my plate. Someday
I will fashion
a name suiting you,

a song you’ll whisper back
to me like mockingbirds
do, like Pap-Paw and Granny
calling each other “Pos,” short for opossum,
Pos for the zestful happiness
opossums find while
eating persimmons.


TinaTina Mozelle Braziel, a graduate of the University of Oregon MFA program, directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her poetry has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Main Street Rag, Raleigh Review, and other journals. Her chapbook Rooted by Thirst is forthcoming this fall from Porkbelly Press. She and her husband, novelist James Braziel, live and write in a glass cabin that they are building on Hydrangea Ridge.

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