Sub Rosa by Betsy Mars (All About My Name Poetry Series)

Silver Birch Press

betsy mars
Sub Rosa
by Betsy Mars

What’s in a name? A tale of many things
past and present
As it happens, when I think
I remember childhood taunts
and oft-told stories of
the origins of my names, juxtaposed:
On the one side,
a beloved grandmother/mother surrogate
and on the other, an incontinent doll, Betsy Wetsy.
A savior, a cow, and a seamstress
all merged together under pressure to form
a multifaceted but conflicted image of what a
Betsy was
Davy Crockett’s gun. The woman who nurtured
the woman who nurtured me. A magic bus.

Betsy was expected to be rejected
for my middle name, Andrea.
More sophisticated, I was told,
but also indicative of dysfunction:
a tribute to my mother’s psychiatrist, André,
the man who nurtured the woman
who was neglected by her father
and rejected by her mother.
Not a common story in my white collar,
aerospace engineer, stay-at-home mom…

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