They Call Me, Too

He used to call me
Tony, his voice a cracked whip
snapping up my attention
while he preached or
spoke in tongues
eyes pressed shut to see beyond
calling on “Father-God” to bless
his family
and keep us safe

She still calls me Tony
her first Spanish teacher
“a long time ago . . . in a
galaxy far, far away”
following a chuckle as she listens
to my six-year-old
voice rattle from the
cassette player
over Sunday brunch

Ahora me llamo
Reynaldo Antonio Webb Torres Macías
but, still

She calls me
Reynaldo Antonio underneath her placebo,
El Rey de su Corazón
Rey when we’re communicating
when we’re not
Rey! If she’s exasperated
Reynaldo when she wants me to get something
or ReyRey a smile tugging at her lips,
lotion in her hands for a backrub . . .

They call me
Mr. Macías . . . what do you teach?
why did my son fail
to listen, learn, read, write?
do you have books
at home?

He calls me
Papá si el está hablando Español hoy día, or
D-a-d-d-y if he’s spelling English
Daddywatchthis! when he’s excited
Daddylook! When he learns
to do a cartwheel
or he figures out his sidekick

They call me
Mr. Macías or
who Bae or
sun Bae
depending on how much
of the Warrior Spirit they’ve
developed or how much
my manhood has
flowered.

She calls me
“I not talkeeng to YOU!” with a frown
when she’s mad at me and she’s “not my friend.”
Daddy! With a smile when there’s a yogurt in the fridge
or a popsicle that says Camila in the freezer
DDAAADDEEE running and jumping, smothering my
long hard day with four-year-old love and affection
making the sun rise at 4:30 in the afternoon

They call me
Rey or Mr. Macías
Romie or Reynaldo,
depends on how much Samuel
Clemens means to them, if
they’re still white washing fences
or jumping off the Titanic before it
breaks in half.

I call me
a work in progress
not the last samurai
but closer to padawan
doing the right thing because it is
working hard because it feels good
being okay with laughing out loud
and
knowing the journey is always more important than
the destination.

© Reynaldo A. Macias 2005