Because I learned to call them black-eyed Susans
only after hearing my father say something else.
Because this is how we teach, pointing towards
the yellow daisies by the roadside.
Because when we do not say a name, the silence
rings like a bell, and we think it. When we gather
as a family, the bell rings and rings and rings.
We are a house of bells, but the largest bell
is buried in the lake. It would take a swimming nun
stepping out of her habit to reclaim it.
It would take a priest. It would take confessions.
It would take the work of reparations,
beginning with the name of a flower.
Hannah VanderHart lives in Durham, North Carolina, under the pines. She has poetry, nonfiction and reviews published in Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, The Adroit Journal, RHINO Poetry, and elsewhere. Her book, What Pecan Light, is forthcoming from Bull City Press in Spring 2021, and she is the reviews editor at EcoTheo Review.