Everything Has a Name Nowadays

Blue pants, red shirt, blue shoes, brown soles, face turned in the sand like he’s napping, but the boy isn’t napping and his shirt is pulled up, his belly bare where sea meets land.

I saw the photos of the dead boy, yeah. Yeah, I saw them. But, I have children too. Two of them, one girl one boy, I also have a dog and those are lots of mouths, you know what I mean? What about the mouths at my table? Have you thought about them? No. So, take care of your own before you worry about anyone else. Even the airplanes know that, when the pressure falls and the masks drop and you’re told you have to be able to breathe first before you can help others.

I live in Tampa. There’s a military base here. Big target. I’ve never been to New York, no, but I see the news, they’re shooting up office parties now, malls, they’re driving trucks into crowds, you think this is about that little dead boy? Are you insane?

Yeah, I’ve seen the photo. His little arm runs along his belly, his hand palm up and you can see his little fingers, his little fingers that will never learn to sew, or play the piano, or again press warm against his mother’s face. She drowned too. I know. Yeah, I saw that. His brother too. Only the father survived. The waves took the boy from his father’s arms and the father watched his wife go under holding on to the other boy, the waves took them all, the water took them all and dumped the boy in the red shirt on the beach.

But, here now. The devil has a million faces. You think he’s not gonna hide among these people? We don’t know anything about them. Nothing. I can’t tell you one thing about them. Now you tell me how stupid is it to just let them in. Let them all in, are you crazy with all those devils among them.

Can you imagine what just one of those devils would do? Do to my family? Hell, you’re even telling me I should bring them into my house. To my table. You’re telling me I should bring them to my table? Are you insane? This is how we lose. We lose by being stupid. That’s how my own kids die, by your stupidity. No, not my kids. I’m not gonna let anything happen to them, bank on that. I’m a bear. You poke a bear, you’re gonna get bit. I bite. No, I’ve never been to New York, but I tell you this, I would use a hammer on any fucker trying to harm my family. You say torture doesn’t work? I say, I don’t care.

I’m a cage, that’s what you don’t understand, I’m a cage and I can open it anytime I want to let all my beasts free. These things of mine, these things with teeth with claws, all mine and I can let them out of my cage anytime I want. They always come back though, don’t worry. They like the cage. It’s how they sleep so well.

I saw the boy, yes, no don’t tell me his name, I don’t need to know his name, I don’t need to know, no, no, I don’t need that, some name, everyone has a name, we give everything a name nowadays don’t we, stupid names, nonsense, I was born here, you see all these mouths at my table and you want me to risk my family just because this boy had a name and washed up on a beach he’d never heard of, cold, belly bare for the fish to get at, no, no, I don’t care about this kid, I have my own kids. I don’t care about the way he lay. My daughter sleeps like that, so I don’t care, my girl, she’s three too, she’s three and when she sleeps she sleeps face down and looks like he looked, her face on the sheets of a warm bed, though, not face down in the sand with the water coming up and over her face over and over and over and over and over until someone comes to take her photo and move her from the water to leave a dent in the earth that the water immediately works to fill, to wash the sand away until it’s smooth again as if she were never there. He, I mean. My daughter was not there. Don’t you see? My daughter did not wash up on a beach she’d never heard of. I’m a cage. My son went to school today, his lunch box had food in it. He wasn’t taken from my arms. I can touch his hair, his face, I can hold his hand anytime and when I catch a ball, my son’s there to throw it. Can’t you see that? My kids didn’t fall into the sea. What were they even doing there? Did you think about that? What kind of parents put their kids in a boat that sinks? Ever think of that? I’m a cage. My kids didn’t drown, they aren’t forever face down in the sand, their bellies aren’t bare, their fingers aren’t cold, still, their eyes aren’t cold, closed, they’re not face down in the sand, my kids aren’t dead, not my kids. I’m a cage. My kids aren’t dead. So what the fuck do I care?