The Naming, by Tricia Knoll

When I Googled myself, the search engine asked if I meant “Trickling Knowledge.”

Got me thinking. My parents chose the second most popular girl’s name of the last one hundred years. In third grade, kids rhymed Splish/Splash/Trish/Trash. I kept my father’s last name through marriages. I know about being German-American after World War II.

Those silent names I carry private. Yesterday’s End Run Without a Pocket Watch, Dirt-On-My-Knees, Willing-To-Please. Alongside truer names of Fog Woman and Lady Bejesus Enjambed.

Dreams tell me I am Sleeping Beside My Mother, From a High Cliff Swinging on a Lanyard Westward, Captain of a Pink Sea Under Orange Clouds, or Ceiling of Holes Below Starlight.

Tomorrow’s names might be Floats By the Kite Store, or the name from my daughter, Rock-a-By Rock Rock Awhile. My dog sniffs me as Hands of Sleep, Treats, and Combs. My man sees Girl Dancing in Fountain.

When I was a toddler and my father, just off the commuter train from Chicago, walked in the front door, he pulled out my tricycle and announced we were off to tree a moose. I pumped chunky pedals with short, fat legs.

We were Shadows on a Sidewalk­­­­­­­.


About “The Naming”: Trickling knowledge came up one time when I was Googling my name instead of writing. I haven’t been able to duplicate this, but it stuck with me as a not-bad name. In a workshop with poet Annie Lighthart she offered an exercise to brainstorm all the names that might apply to each of us in a variety of situations. That was the prompt for this poem. “The Naming” is part of a manuscript called Gathering Marbles that I have out looking for a publisher.

Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Urban Wild from Finishing Line Press addresses humans and wildlife interacting in urban habitat. Ocean’s Laughter, poetry about Oregon’s northern coast, will be out from Aldrich Press in early 2016. Website:


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