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 her 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 & 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?

art by Jay Hamm
originally written & performed for LOCUS, September 2019

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