my name

Don’t think me proud. I’m not striving to grace my name –
all I want is a shelf on which to place my name.

Postwar papers cascade from a manila folder.
What marks me member of a rootless race? My name.

Genetics, history, hermaphroditic longings –
the unexotic poisons with which I lace my name.

As we’re impure, we half-breeds shouldn’t be patriots.
It’s pointless, dead-end work: don’t try to trace my name.

I haven’t got the time of day for days of mourning,
so I’m accused of wishing to erase my name.

You’ll never see me in a gauzy wedding dress.
Myself’s the only man who could replace my name.

Hours at the sweaty courthouse and the DMV.
So sick of hearing my countrymen deface my name!

Everyone likes to think they’re heterodoxical.
I can find bigger mysteries than chase my name.

Totalitarian beauty and harmony
have censored all my lines. I can’t embrace my name.

Digging through ancient hoards of Lydian gold, I think
I hear a leonine roar. It’s time to face my name.

published in massachusetts’s best emerging poets 2019 anthology (z publishing house)

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