Citadel of our best names—angsty Zooey & chatty Zarathustra,
              wee Zaccheus & mighty Zorro. (Zebediah, of course,                              would place among them.) 

Experiment in endings (A-Z), as in “where the A ends up,” the crooked path
              an A could take toward some arrival’s gate (zig-zag). 
Or Z-pack: superhero strength contained in capsules. 

Like the 7, crossed or uncrossed, mustachioed or not,
              the Z with its dashing  good looks & flaming androgyny,                        its cursive tail & tiger purr. 

That Z, its maze of contradictions, shape-shifter & fortress of finality:
              N’s topsy-turvy cousin, S’s more callous sidekick,

The stuff of caped-crusader skirmishes: ZAP! &  ZOOM!

Enabler of interjections (think Wowie Zowie! think Zoinks!)
              Symphonic doppelgänger shadowing xylophone &                                 disguise

The verbage of bees, buzzing all day in a hive. 

Zeta or zed, its dialectical relatives, or the numeral 3,
              Z’s bodacious brother on its mother’s side.        

Ambiguous, flirtatious, & worth 10 points on the Scrabble board,
              Z turns out to be quite the catch—zany, zesty, &                                      remarkably well-read.

But despite its zeal, Z can also communicate quietly, eloquent as an ideogram. 
              It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring…

How do we know? Just look at the rocket of Zs rising out of his mouth.

Copyright © 2017 by Julie Marie Wade. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 1, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.