I am inviting you in. This isn't a secret; already there are shimmers of announcement. But it isn't mine to share: it's a new name. And for me, I do not know why, I have always associated names with textures, with colors. (Sophie was a blue-glass bottle, a delicate soap and Maya is loamy, earthy, like blackberries and mushrooms.)
Maya and I spent the early afternoon in the MCBA shop with Meryl (Meryl: I think of vines) while she printed three more pages of her artist's book. Colleen (a scalloped shell) joined us, we had thai, we fed Maya tofu and cleaned up the aftermath.
We went to Colleen's apartment in the gloaming. Her living room was filled with lace, and each station was a point on the compass: north, for winter and water and minerals; east for springtime with flowers; summer where we lit a candle; high summer at the center with earth from the Badlands, which she added water to and placed clay on her third eye; and west, where I initially sat, with a metal bell, a container of autumn leaves, and a pomegranate.
We each took a leaf into which we put our intentions. Maya spent her time seeing how many elements she could cram into her mouth: the rose quartz Meryl gave me for bringing to my birthing of the bear, and later, she gathered flower petals and leaves and the shell and tugged at the lace, threatening to upend the rest.
Colleen read from an essay she wrote after her trip to the Dakotas titled Splendor. It's a gorgeous poem and as she read, the world seemed to quiet, though Maya called in a few times, particularly at the fucking hybrid bit. I loved the secret moments, the intimacy, the claiming, the stone that followed her across state lines.
I read a poem I wrote about changing Maya's name (from Sophie). Meryl read a section from Dream of a Perfect Interface. Then, Colleen brought out a drum and sang about strength and names.
Maya gladly took over the rhythm section for the evening.
And thus, Opal was born. (Opal: chipped marble, brass scrollwork.)
She took the name not as a rejection of Colleen, which shall be the C. of her publishing name--Opal C. McCarthy--but as a kind of celebration in her own unique nature, in a movement to varying colors. A kind of quiet beauty with spark, to paraphrase Meryl.
We took our leaves to the lake and released them, a blessing on our intentions. Opal released the remaining leaves, the night sky pinking and deep.