meaning ‘little one’
my parents called me nho, sometimes
a singular grape
a child so small
plucked from a vine

I was given an English name
so that I wouldn’t get bullied
for such an exotic background
I was reborn for the convenience
of others

meaning ‘child of God’
my mother had two boys she loved
but prayed everyday to have a girl
the third time,
to have her likeness reflected
in such a tiny face
and in December of ’94
she did

I rejected Nhi most of my life
a relic of forgetting myself
of welcoming the parts that were easy
and holding my applause for the parts
I wanted to keep quiet

A single syllable
uttered like a sigh in the night–
why would I try to erase
the love that preceded my birth
and the affection that named me?

21 thoughts on “56

  1. So beautifully written , as always. I’m glad you’ve embraced your uniqueness, your dual awesomeness and I hope that you’ve learned you hold gifts I could only dream of possessing. ❤❤


  2. Embrace who you are! All of it! Unless you’re an axe-murderer or a sociopath: don’t embrace that stuff. But there’s no need to hide your name or heritage! Unfortunately there is a chance that some people will give you crap, but the ones who are worth keeping around won’t. The former losers are part of a dying group that has no future.


  3. Elle, what I like about your poems are that they come from your heart. It’s not how your parents felt about you or how you were named by them. It’s your life and you embraced it with the reality of a wise adult far beyond your years. Each poem flows with the advice of your beautiful inner self. This poem is another winner. Loved it, Stan


  4. Naeem Malik

    Thanks for liking my post…
    I appreciate your support…😊😊😊
    Please do check out my other posts, too…
    Have a great day 😊😊


  5. varjakBaby

    I could imagine you collecting your poems and publishing them in an autobiographical anthology, since so many are about your personal history.


  6. I relate so much to this poem. I changed my name as well when I moved to the United States. People couldn’t pronounce my actual name and they make fun of it by mispronouncing it. Sometimes I felt like the girl in Spirited Away, having her name taken to fit in a new world.


  7. Hi. …???… Perhaps… Was not a Love YOU chose.?. Perhaps change your first Name to one YOU prefer and keep the other as a middle-name Reminder. Good Luck with Your Choice. Thanks for the share.


  8. Completely agree. There’s no point in hiding behind a mask that people would approve of. Embrace yourself, Justice yourself. In the end no matter where you go, people come and go, clouds mould into different forms by the back of the hand but what remains is you. Your words, your self, your achievements, your memory. And If you don’t recognise or accept your own self because of chatters, giggles, gossips. You can’t be comfortable in your own skin. Great work, Elle!


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