My name

by Emily Tong

For the women, I know my
name. I know it is mine – it came from somewhere,
someone else, but now I’ve said it too, and
I say it over and over to myself like a
promise, and meaning changes
as it does when you say any word over
and over again. You see it differently,
hear the syllables like a strange
language. It counters what I
thought would happen – I thought
repetition would breed familiarity, but
all I have in my mouth are
letters now, they’ve been tumbled enough
and now the glue can’t hold them
like before. I say them, now, however I
choose. I add new letters and take
them out again. Now I think, I
am finished – it will stay like this
forever, the way
you said it first, how it goes.
Now I think, I will see what happens.
Now I think, I want –

I want this for the women. My name,
me, myself, knowing this, for the
women. So I can keep coming back. So
I can remember now and now and
now. So I can add my own
syllables, someday. So I can
show them that it is mine.


Posted on 11/08/2011
Copyright © 2022 Emily Tong

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 11/08/11 at 03:53 PM

Strength runs through this, but it never has to make that obvious to us, or repeat itself. Very nicely done.

Posted by Joe Cramer on 11/08/11 at 09:25 PM

.... ditto the previous comment....this is wonderful.....

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 03/07/16 at 05:22 PM

This seems the perfect choice for Celebrating Women's Month. I love this exploration of your name, our names. A fine piece on acceptance and anticipation, looking forward to changes. Congrats on POTD!

Posted by Elizabeth Shaw on 03/08/16 at 12:56 AM

Congrats on POTD. I too enjoyed the easy flow of this and it's changing shape of learning to know what makes the women. Very natural & native to the core.

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