name the child

Naming the child is an important task.

You must consider many factors:
family traditions
cultural mores
likelihood of that name to be turned into a summer camp taunt
and of course
love.

The procedure varies
depending on your birth,
blood,
your parents
and their fidelity to tradition,
and yours.

Traditionally,
Hispanic babies are baptized with two surnames,
the mother's and the father's,
in keeping with the Spanish custom.

The order varies,
though usually the father's is first.

For example,
Rosa Vasquez and Alejandro Perez 
are having a baby boy.
After a short, crazy labor
(he was in a hurry)
(they barely made it in time)
he arrives
with a nautilus of black hair
and they name him
Santiago.

Santiago Perez Vasquez,
just for example.
Santiago, of Perez and Vasquez.
Santiago, Alejandro and Rosa's boy.

It's important to note that traditions change
with the passage of time
and the crossing of borders.

Therefore, many Americans
of all backgrounds
do not have a uniform standard 
with which to comply
or from which to deviate
when they name their children.

But whether the parents name the child
in the same way they were named,
the next ring in the pond, already growing,
the next Roman numeral,
their parents and grandparents alive in every signature for the rest of their lives;

or simply by selecting the sounds that most pleased them,
the syllables that held the meaning of what they hoped their children might be
(broad-chested
kind
beautiful
little king
peaceful)
it's important to remember
that the parents named the child.

It's important to remember that all parents do this.
Every name
is an act of tenderness.
The first kiss.

The parents selected a name
to croon in the shell of his ear
scream over the playground when he disappeared from view
squeeze from between their teeth when they caught him 
sneaking beers.

The parents named the child
so that when he fell in love
his lover would taste that name again and again
and wonder why it was never so beautiful before now.

They selected a name 
to write on field trip permission slips
birthday cards
over and over again
at the hospital.
The child is always getting hurt.

Naming the child is an important task.
It's your first chance to say a prayer for him.
It's your first chance to say hello,
hello you. Yes, you. There you are.

It's your first chance to tell every damn person on earth
that he exists.
This is his name.

Name the child with care.
You will say it so many times.
And others will, too.
Hundreds,
thousands...
maybe millions
on the proudest day of your life
or the day your life
as it once was
ended.

Name the child with care.
You will say it so many times.
Laugh it.
Sob it.
Roll it over in your head.
Wear it on your skin.
Call it in the crowd
over the barriers
into the place
where he is not
please
please...

Name the child.
Print it in the paper.
Carve it into stone.

I typed the names.

(Should I end them with a period?
No, that's irrevocable.
Yes, they are worth completing.)

The parents named the child
for a grandmother who smoked cigars.
After the father who was proud to give what he had.
The name that sounded like a warrior;
she was born screaming. You couldn't miss her might.

Read every one.
Meet the child.
Hello you.
There you are.

You exist,
baby boy,
baby girl,
named beautifully
by your mother and father
with fidelity to family traditions
with disregard to taunting
with blood
beauty
and of course
love.


Edward Sotomayor Jr.
Stanley Almodovar III.
Juan Ramon Guerrero.
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera.
Luis S. Vielma.

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz.
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo.
Kimberly Morris.
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice.
Darryl Roman Burt II.

Deonka Deidra Drayton.
Alejandro Barrios Martinez.
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla/Alanis Laurell.
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez.
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez.

Amanda Alvear.
Martin Benitez Torres.
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon.
Mercedez Marisol Flores.
Xavier Emmanual Serrano Rosado.

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez.
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez.
Oscar A Aracena-Montero.
Enrique L. Rios Jr.
Miguel Angel Honorato.

Javier Jorge-Reyes.
Joel Rayon Paniagua.
Jason Benjamin Josaphat.
Cory James Connell.
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez.

Luis Daniel Conde.
Shane Evan Tomlinson.
Juan Chevez-Martinez.
Jerald Arthur Wright.
Leroy Valentin Fernandez.

Tevin Eugene Crosby.
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega.
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez.
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala.
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool.

Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan.
Christopher Andrew Leinonen.
Angel L. Candelario-Padro.
Frank Hernandez.
Paul Terrell Henry.

Antonio Davon Brown.
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz.


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