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.