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“I’d name my son Ezekiel,” announces Duke.

“Ezekiel?” says Rudy.

“E-za-kayl,” he repeats with relish. “Ezekayl Dianté Quinnon.”

“I know you didn’t just put my son’s name in yours!” objects Rudy. “I told you I’m a name my son Kwinnay.”

“How y’all gonna argue over names now?” grumbles Monica, but secretly she’s thinking the same things. She wants daughters, herself, and they’ll have new and beautiful names, original poetry just for them. No more Monicas, no more Dukes. Their children will all be called by music, names you could dance to, names you could step to: Dionna, B’Lynn, Alonsé Kitala Quinnon.


It makes her grin just to listen to him. He looks like the first-generation import he is: skin so deeply pigmented it’s almost blue, big brown eyes and startling white smile. They’re walking along Muhammad Ali Boulevard, carrying smoothies, being postmodern.

People are staring, but that will pass in time. Everyone gets used to Kevin eventually, Monica thinks. What’s funny is that I still haven’t gotten tired of persuading him to talk. Of setting him off.

“It’s alwess the first thing they’ll ask,” he’s ranting, his voice thick with brogue. “‘Och, look at you, an’ whair in Africa are ye froom?‘”