by Troy Reeves

Some people find their names
written on the pages of books:
encyclopedias, histories, biographies,
even novels, songs, and plays,
famous people, infamous people,
athletes, admirals, scientists and saints,
preachers, prophets, charlatans,
musicians and actors, good people,
bad people, rich, poor, cruel, kind,
even masters and former slaves.
All are somewhere on some page.
But names are written in another book,
a book no person has ever read, encrypted
in a code no cryptologist can ever break.
Its author knows them all by the names
He has memorized and keeps alive
every minute of every day:
those who languished and those who thrived,
those who lived to ripe old age,
those who were lost at sea,
even those who were blown to smithereens.
And every baby who died in the womb
He has kissed and blessed with a holy name.
Names come and go with passing fame,
ushered into obscurity by the fatigue
of scholars, the jaded taste of the public,
or just the passage of time.
But some names are kept forever,
and someday, beating hearts will leap
when people hear their new names called
and find out who they are indeed.
Free from failure, shame, disgrace,
they will long to meet the Scribe
who wrote their names, face-to-face.

Troy Reeves is a retired English professor, whose poems have been published in Anglican Theological Review, America, Dappled Things, and elsewhere. He and Susie, his wife, live in Nixa, Missouri and enjoy swimming, ping pong, reading, and walking Ozark trails.

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