Tresha is an Invented Name

Tresha Faye Haefner

After Jeanine Hall Gaily

If I had been a boy they would have named me Jonah. Which means dove. But all I think of is the would-be-prophet who got swallowed by a whale for trying to run from God. When it was my time to be born, I refused to come out. Fisting my hands on either side of my mother, turned sideways in the arc of her hull. The doctor’s hands ripped me against my dreaming. Who hasn’t tried to hide their light, and been thrown from the boat by fear? Now I listen for voices, in movie theaters, or on the Queen Mary, when I walk into alleyways, or places wet with unseeing. The temple of who I could have been. I find myself chasing the sea like a prophet, listening for where it calls. Look in the mirror and find my face shamed into hollyhock. Awake in front of the lord and all he must fear. I stare into photos of my mother holding her baby. Whose water-bright eyes were those, staring out at distance?

Tresha must mean horizon, storm, dove who was saved after being swallowed by the sea.


Tresha Faye Haefner’s poetry appears, or is forthcoming in several journals and magazines, most notably Blood Lotus, The Cincinnati Review, Hunger Mountain, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Radar, Rattle and TinderBox. Her work has garnered several accolades, including the 2011 Robert and Adele Schiff Poetry Prize, and a 2012 nomination for a Pushcart.