Our Fresh Local Lit series serves up poems and prose by Philadelphians twice a week. Today’s poem was pulled from the archives! Philly poet Hannah McDonald‘s poem, Common Names, was originally printed in APIARY Online Issue 2.
Never fall in love with boys with common names,
Or every time you open a book,
Or skim the police blotter in the newspaper,
Or watch a sitcom on a major network
There they all are.
Clearer in your mind’s eye than anything in front of you.
You can not see some story about Ryan Jones, 19, convicted
On four counts of felony so-and-so
Without pausing to think of Ryan Evans, 23
And the way you used to smile walking past his dorm room window.
It will happen like this all the time,
In grocery store’s checkout aisles, in the car in rush hour traffic,
Just when you thought you wanted anonymity in a lover,
You cannot shake the resonance of John or Patrick or Matt or Mike or Josh.
Their memories leave a bruise on your brain in the shape of a fist,
But if one of them would just caress you,
You would wear his invisible handprint like a crown.