Heaven Backwards

 

by Maggie Smith

Neveahs, wherever you are, forgive
the mothers in the early aughts
who named their daughters heaven
spelled backwards. Forgive them—
they broke & conflated that breaking
with light knifing through clouds.
Then nurses asked what to call you.
Neveahs, I imagine each one of you
could be an Elcarim, or Evol, or Legna—
and Angel backwards sounds like
an Ikea shelf. Neveahs, I imagine
your name as the name of a desert
I’d visit when the sun goes down
& everything blooms. If I were you,
I’d carry my name before me like a light
from the turn of the century, still
incandescent & beautifully inefficient.
I’d cut the dark & see the cactus flowers.