“I have called you by name, you are mine” by Kelsi Lindus



Tune in—it's prime time for mammals

with a prefrontal cortex and anxiety disorders

on a planet that is burning.

Mammal from mamma, meaning breast:

milk and three middle ear bones,

some booze-buoyed god drawing traits from a hat.

I’d fall for anyone who said my name aloud

when I least expected it. Wouldn’t you?

That's what gods are all about.

Recall Adam pointing at a feathered beast,

saying dodo, giggling, calling it a day.

But god's gone and so are the animals. What do we care?

We put mouths beside other people's genitals

and open—knock-off gods, all tongue and teeth,

names in our throats in the throes of it.

My still-new nephew woke to a sister.

When the infant cries, he laughs:

baby's funny Mamma, he says, and repeats, insists:

baby's funny. He doesn't have the words.

He longs to be so recently named.

I read to them from a board book Bible

while my coffee drowns itself in milk.

Once, in the middle of class, you said my name

and my body burned like ancient bramble.

Where then to find redemption

if not in you? Sorry, it's just my amygdala,

marble sized inside my head

and shaking. Or wait—scientists disagree,

could be something else entirely.

God, can we try this again?


Kelsi Lindus is a writer and filmmaker living in the Puget Sound. Her work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, X-R-A-Y, Lost Balloon, Rejection Letters, Brave Voices, and elsewhere. She can be found online @kelsijayne or kelsilindus.com.