How I Got My Name
by David Mathews

As a kid, I thought I was named after Davy Jones.
When I would watch The Monkees reruns,

just the way my mother seemed to reminisce
when she said his name was suspicious.

I don’t remember how it came up—if I asked—
or my mother felt it was something I should know.

As a young schoolgirl, she was saving her first kiss.
She fought off this little suitor obsessed with taking that kiss.

Sweet talk. Caryring her books home. Literal arm twists.
Like Penelope of Ithaca, she resisted all his tricks for a kiss.

On cold Chicago monkey bars an agreement was struck.
She whispered in his ear how he could have her first kiss.

They agreed to name their firstborn for her first kiss.
His daughter’s name is Sharon—mine became David.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: My mother Sharon when she was twelve — around the same time as the deal for her first kiss.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My mother has always told me this story since I was a boy—in the back of mind I always wanted to write a poem about it. The Silver Birch Press prompt and my recent obsession with the ghazal form encouraged me to make it come to life. While the final version is not a ghazal, its couplets are influenced by the form.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Mathews earned his MA in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University. Recent work has appeared in Eclectica Magazine, After Hours, CHEAP POP, One Sentence Poems, OMNI Reboot, Word Riot, Silver Birch Press, and Midwestern Gothic. His poetry was nominated by Eclectica for The Best of The Net 2014, and his poetry also received first place in the Illinois Women’s Press Association’s 74th Mate E. Palmer Communications Awards. He is a lifelong Chicagoan, teaches at Wilbur Wright College, College of Lake County, and is the Acting First Vice President/Program Chair for the Illinois Woman’s Press Association (IWPA).