“nameless” is actually the first thing I wrote in the world of what’s now my novel-in-progress, Cicatrix. I had an image of a dancing woman with twisted scars on her shoulderblades, what might have been wings…
The poem didn’t quite work. It sat on my hard drive for a while as I did other things, including expanding that glimpse into a novel – now the person who used to have wings is male, and he has an interesting way of covering those scars. But, as always in a novel, there’s room for other stories than the ones I’m currently telling. Somewhere out there there’s room for the narrator of this poem.
And somewhere there was the right poem for her! I revisited the poem recently, trying to cut it down to ten lines; it didn’t work. Then I opened it up just a little more, let it breathe – and here we go.
An interesting autobiographical note: my birth mother never named me. I was simply “the baby” until she gave me up for adoption. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I went through name after name, and nothing stuck; when I later learned that I hadn’t been given a name, I attributed my name-fluidity to that.
In the world of Cicatrix, why might a child not be named, or be un-named? What effects might namelessness have?
“nameless” was published in Through the Gate #1 in September 2012.