1. They say A rose by any other name Would smell just as sweet But, I named you Rebecca And tied you- my firstborn, Like an unyielding cord Around my breaking heart. 2. They say A loving mother Would never leave like I did At the crack of dawn Before you awoke For your morning suckle Before the neighbors stirred To your lonesome cries. 3. They say A woman like me Should be haunted To the end of my days And be made to hang for my crime As the virtuous ones berate God For casting pearls Before swine. 4. They say The road to hell Is paved with good intentions And that best laid plans Have a way of falling In mid-air We had intentions, we had plans But neither of us saw you coming 5. He said he loved my dimples I loved his middle-aged charm I was hardly done with high school But he promised full-fledged marriage Then I fell pregnant Before he met my parents Or the dowry had been paid I eloped, and figured time would tell 6. No sooner had I settled In my makeshift life Than his true colors Began to show- Nights of untold terror Drunken stupors And repeated apologies That held no water. 7. At seven months pregnant I had to run, and start afresh A tin shack room In a sprawling slum Was all I could afford On measly wages I made from casual labor On lucky days 8. You fell ill at two months old And needed a doctor I could not procure I was eighteen, and had burnt my bridges My life was already over Yours was just beginning I could either watch you die Or leave you, at earshot, like Hagar did 9. They say I never loved you But since I left you swaddled Against the biting chill Of that tin-shack room I have never stopped praying For you better days Unburdened by the error of my ways 10. They say A rose by any other name Would smell just as sweet But, I named you Rebecca And tied you- my firstborn, Like an unyielding cord Around my breaking heart.