Don’t Wear Out My Name

Don’t Wear Out My Name
by J. Alan Nelson
Don’t wear out my name
My daughter says. Don’t wear it out.
It’s both Saturday and her birthday.
We go to the donut shop
her soccer game, and
a movie where one of her friends
eats too much cake
throws up on himself.
I stand in the bathroom an hour,
try to clean away the vomit,
and calm the boy as he weeps.
That night I stand behind my daughter
as she bends over her computer
her 11-year-old mind stretching over the planet
as though infinite in reason.
I’m googling
What for, I ask.
Just surfing, dad, she said.
What for, I ask.
Just surfing. Anything I think.
No homework?
Just whatever. Like my name.
A host surrounds the name intricately carved
by electrons in crystal of my screen
a post-doctoral student in biosystems engineering
a woman born in 1863 in someone’s genealogy
an artist in New York whose
exhibits speak of the nomadism in contemporary culture
a staffer at a Navajo medical center
a triathlon athlete
a reporter in Miami
a recumbent figure in a European tomb
under a pillar of white marble
and nineteen hundred others
answer to that name.
Don’t wear it out, I said.
It’s made only of sound and air.
And your choice, she said.
I chose that name
and she chooses
to answer to the name
chosen for that great host,
a name not worn out yet
as I see my world slough off
as her google world stretches
in its new skin.

0 thoughts on “Don’t Wear Out My Name

  1. A father’s life stretched thin by his expanding daughter’s. The generation gap both widened and embraced by the father, via the internet. Nice. I liked “Don’t wear it out, [her name] I said. It’s made only of sound and air.” Like inexhaustible cyberspace.

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