when they call me
by a quarter
of the name i was given
by my lama,
it takes my friends
three shouts —
three times of a single syllable
flung into my exile air
instead of the four-syllabic beauty
of ancient meanings
and modern abundance:
my friends say
half of us are called by
the same first name
and the rest
by a version of my second.

i still prefer to
swallow three quarters of my name —
if it means i am
a face in a sea of names.
even if it feels like
three quarters of my soul
has been sucked into the
pitch black of
refugee settlement mundaneness.
even if it feels like
half my heart
has been buried into the
corners of strange cities
in strange countries
my grandma doesn’t want to know about;
she’s happy living inside
memories of girlhood back home
and becoming woman
in the bellies of
plastic-shelter refugee camps.

one quarter of my name
just one quarter of my self


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