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Tag Archives: names

found poem: clouds

found poem: who

found poem: there were names

found poem: Remembering


Brittney scowled at the application on the computer screen. Another faceless collection of clicks and taps. Why had she spent all those adolescent hours practicing her signature? The muscular BRITT, the curvaceous ‘ney’ – the back-slanted, lounging Brittney, the heart, the flower, the star, the tiny cross over the i. What was the use if they’d never see it?

She scrolled down the page, counted the questions that started with the word ‘Explain’ and swiveled in her chair to look out the window.

Explain. How could she explain being Brittney? The perfect, coveted misery of being blond and popular and paired with the handsome and oafish Brett? How could she describe the real reason she wanted, more than life itself, to go to this school eighteen hundred miles from her father’s footsteps on the stairs? How could she explain the desire to shave her head, to take a flamethrower to the cheerleader’s uniforms in her closet, to walk out the door and just keep walking?

She scrolled back up the page. Considered. Ah. Just a small lie.

Name. She tapped the keys: Devon Morton Smith.

fragments…Rose ~ 2

…Rose had substituted silliness and cleverness for beauty, quick to make a face, mimic a teacher’s gesture, or hide a classmate’s report or book or purse that was “there just a second ago!” She was the one girl who could stick two fingers in her mouth and whistle as loud as any of the boys, and she became an expert at rude noises, flapping her cheek to make a squishy sound, emitting long, sonorous belches, and real or fake farting sounds that were both gross and elegant in their timing.

Her mother spoke often about their friends, the Bartletts, who had had son after son – seven of them – before they finally had a daughter, and how the daughter, Darlene, was a princess, doted upon by her brothers, sweet and spoiled and able to do no wrong. But Rose’s three brothers took no instruction from this story and doted upon her only with cornflakes and ice cubes in her bed, sand in her underpants drawer, and cruel, embarrassing notes pinned to the back of her sweater or skirt: “My name is Watermelon Head,” or, “Ask me if I took a dump in my panties,” or, “I have a crush on Will G.” As diligent as she was about checking her clothing for the loathsome notes, her brothers would manage to tape them on her back unnoticed when she was concentrating on something else.

But still, they were her brothers, her Hardy Boys, her Lee, Paul and David. Torment her as they might, humiliated as she might be, Rose was quietly proud of them – their lanky straightness, their dark, closely trimmed hair, their cracking voices – as if she had borne them, raised them into boyish magnificence. Of course she could never reveal this bit of sisterly pride, and when the giggling girls at school overcame their distaste to crowd around her and ask, “Does Paul have a girlfriend?” or “Does David really have a birthmark on his rear end?” she would look at them and laugh, imagining the notes she could surreptitiously stick to her brothers’ backs.

Rose was only about 8 when she started experimenting with names. “My name is Claudia,” she would declare at the dinner table. Or, “Who’s Rose? I’m Lily Feather.” But in these nominal experiments, her brothers found more fodder for their teasing, saying, “Hi Clod Hopper,” or, “What’s up, Lead Butt?” These insults only encouraged her to try other names, to continue to search for the one that would be immune to their taunts. Much to her dismay, except for her grandfather, who called her My Rosika, which sounded like ROW-shee-ka, everyone continued to call her Rose…

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