The Truth About Names

Beneath their chins the cards they held
had names of foreign children on.
His said Joe, so that's what I called 
him, as I looked him up and down
for clues, but everything was brown
or grey, washed out - all colour gone.

Even his skin, for one not old
in years was drawn and pale, almost
silver: no, pewter uncared for:
thin nimbus standing at the door
that links the future to the past.
It was six months before he told

the truth about his name, and how
his mother whispered that a name
is better easily pronounced,
but how he wanted to reclaim
the word she used to call him now.
And when he said the word, it bounced.

James L. Orwin