I. In June I Changed My Name
It happened during my wedding, right at the very end,
when I was being kissed.
Then the two of us and our nine grandchildren
clambered and scrambled
into the wagon and my son started the tractor,
drove us by river and cove.
After eating cake we swam and sailed
all sunny afternoon.
It’s so different this second time – different river, wagon, us.
For our honeymoon we’re climbing a mountain—
me with a pacemaker, him
arthritic knees. It’s his first crack
at this crest, my third,
each time lugging a different
name. At our trailhead
the forest is lovely, leafy. But
why didn’t we check
the forecast, memorize the maps, why did we choose
this track of many stones? Midway,
I’m thinking we’re drinking
too much too quickly from our canteen; late,
we argue but cannot resolve:
why is it all so steep?
III. Precaution at the DMV
This is the third name I’ve driven
and it feels
like I’m grinding my gears.
After the cake and tossing
of flowers, it only took a week
for our first fight, “minor tiff”
his terminology, though I asked myself
just what my name is anyway.
First time around I threw my birthname
out without a second glance, rubbernecked
the new one like grass
on the far side of a fence.
This time maybe I should stow that old friend
in the glove compartment—
keep it close
just in case.
Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll’s book Grace Only Follows won the 2010 National Federation of Press Women Contest and was a finalist for Drake University’s 2012 Emerging Writer Prize. Her poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Passager, Caesura, Controlled Burn, and received a Pushcart Prize nomination. She’s a retired piano teacher.