How to Call Its Name

I have nightmares about Lord Baltimore
even though I can’t picture him, nor
his Lady, nor even her cake. Is it
white, and ramparted with ladyfingers?
Do I remember this correctly? One time
last spring, I saw a Baltimore oriole
in a saucer magnolia tree, which can
also be called a tulip tree, which is
what I always called them until I
found out that a tulip tree is also
something else entirely. It doesn’t
seem fair for a tree to have to
share its name, given that trees
are also expected to share air,
water, sun, space. But anyway,
this oriole was like a shocking
wound of a bird, some horrible
violence in my eye, only because it
was bright orange and my eye didn’t
expect it or know how to call its
name. I kept trying to make it
into a robin, but it never would
become one. It never would become
other than what it was, under its own
name. I’ve come to like my name, too,
and can’t be other than what I am.

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