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  • THEY KNOW ALL MY SECRETS

    THEY KNOW ALL MY SECRETS

    Maybe that psychic in Madison was right.
    She told me my throat chakra was closed
    & all I’d done was introduce myself.

    Listen to yourself — she says.
    You say your own name like it’s a question.

    I wanted to laugh her off
    Been trying to laugh it off ever since.
    But it was so reminiscent of all my bullshit
    then & now,
    letting other people sell me on me.

    You try to shrug that off.

    These days I’m with my nieces on a weekend afternoon
    & learning something like usual.
    At 6, Polly can read words like “ornithologist”
    & knows to be proud of that.
    She says to me, to herself, when looking in the mirror:
    “I look pretty.”
    Meanwhile, her sister Araceli is pretending to be a cat
    & in her 3 years has never let anyone define her but her.
    She meows and I laugh —

    They’re both right.

    My therapist told me I was self-absorbed
    & of course, she’s right, too.

    “Nobody knows what’s wrong with themselves,
    & everyone else can see it right away,”
    a minor yet major character told Don on Mad Men.

    I think about all this a lot.

    So what is it?
    Tell me again:

    What is your name?

    *

    This poem was originally featured in LOCUS: II (“a blind mashup of artistic expressions where interpretation syncs up & where it collides”) at The Martin in Chicago.