How I Came Up with a Boy’s Name


Reading E.B. White, I stop at the word “orion” ….

I think of Francisco in Angola, trooping with soldiers in the night, navigating by the stars.

I think of him on the “Green Girl,” watching the North Star as the boat plies through the Straits, leaving Cuba behind in the dark.

I think of him in all the places we’ve looked at stars together, lying on our backs, me listening to the poetry of constellations in Spanish.

It could be a name, that word, and it stays with me.

To it, we’ll add “Pei,” the last name of Francisco’s mother’s grandfather, un chinito, who had to change his name and assimilate when he arrived in Cuba.  It’s a family name that’s been lost, that could stand to be rescued, that could sit comfortably, I think, next to Orion.

Orion Pei Collazo Schwietert.

Francisco laughs–in a nice way–when I tell him. A new age-Chinese-Cuban-German.  He doesn’t say anything else about it, but I think he kind of likes it.


3 responses »

  1. I like it–it’s different but not dippy. And if he wants to “fit in” (god forbid) when he hits high school, he can always go by Ryan.

    (And Ibis laughs at all the boy names I like, too. I’m like, come on, YOUR name is IBIS, for crying out loud…)

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