The Hazards in Child-Naming


My daughter’s name is Brittany Spears,
a choice for which—one day I hope—
she will forgive me. How’s one to know
what names will ring in peoples’ ears
in future years? No prophet, I.
I asked for it, I guess—James Bond
lived in my hometown, grumpy as
you might expect, from questions on
martini choice and British cars.
So did Fred Sanford, who sold Olds-
mobiles and Chevrolets. Had cards
made up—"No junk on this lot!"
Barbara Eden was divorced,
worked at Delchamps grocery,
had a son my sister’s age
who hated all the genie jokes.
Brittany goes to college soon.
I wonder if she’ll claim her name
her own, or if she’ll take the chance
to make a break from stardom not
her own, claim life undefined by
the tabloids’ curiosity.
Or maybe she’ll just hope the star
will fade, and leave her name, weathered
and worn, ready for another.


Brian Spears is the Poetry Editor of The Rumpus ( and his first book of poems, A Witness In Exile, will be published in 2010 by Louisiana Literature Press. He was a Stegner Fellow from 2003-2005 and currently teaches in the English department of Florida Atlantic University.  

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