Now I Am Both My Names

I was not always both my names
Though I was born
Into a hurricane,
At least
After the hurricane.

Hurricane Diane, 1952
Lakes flooded, trees feel,
Houses were crushed.
Rattlesnakes swam for their lives
And then,
I was born.

In addition to the hurricane
I was given my grandmothers’ names
Marys, both,
Their name sweetened the storm.
Perhaps it was meant
To temper me.

I was always called Diane.
In the Texas hills my name
Rang out from Mama’s voice
Searching for me,
Wondering where I got to.

Up in a tree, usually.
Or out on the lake,
Swimming toward
The limestone bluffs
Like a storm.

I was a whirlwind.

I never liked Mary.
Mary was too sweet.
Too simple.

Mary is what I became.

Leaving the child’s eye of the storm
I became too sweet
To tell my husband
Not to hit me.

Too sweet to say I did not like
To be taken against my will night
After night.
Too sweet to simply say, NO
Too sweet to simply say
What I wanted.

My grandmothers,
Marys both,
Never knew me.
Never knew the storm
Or the sweetness.
I was told they were strong women.

I was sweet Mary for many years.

It took a long time
To become stronger than sweet
Yet sweet enough to know
True gentleness,
To blow my way clear
Of storms that followed me,
To find my child’s eye
Once again.

That time has come at last.

Now I am both my names.
A strong, sweet hurricane.

My grandmothers
would be proud as the storm.