Becoming Joanne
by Joanne Corey

If my grandfather Giovanni
had not fled the Old Country
before the Great War,
I might have been Giovanna
or piccola Giovanina.
Born in 1960s New England,
I was Joanne —
one word —
small a —
with an e —
to avoid confusion with four classmates
who answered to that common name.

When I was eighteen,
my Latin teacher derived and gave
meaning to my name:
Joanne —
feminine of John —
from Hebrew –
variously translated as
God is gracious- —
Gift of God —
God’s gracious gift.
A daunting aspiration
as I began adulthood.

After decades of striving
to fulfill the promise,
to be worthy of my name,
in my sixth decade,
wisdom dawns.
God freely gifts grace.
have always been,
will always be
Joanne —
God’s gracious gift —
living out a universal call.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author’s visiting her daughter in Honolulu for Mother’s Day (May 11, 2014).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Corey lives in Broome County, New York, where she spends her time writing, blogging, caring for family, volunteering, and tilting at windmills for various environmental and social justice causes. Recent publications include the spring 2015 anthology of the Binghamton Poetry Project and the anthology Candles of Hope (GWL Publishing – UK), her first international print publication. She invites you to visit her eclectic blog: