What’s in a name?
It is what turns heads
It can cause a quiver in your body
Or a smile to curl onto your lips.
A name can be tarnished
It can make you stand out from the crowd
Or join the masses.
It is more than what society deems
A socially acceptable form of
So let me introduce myself:
I used to feel my name in harsh syllables
Rooted in the language of my people’s history.
MAR or MIR meant bitter.
Like having the wrong taste in your mouth
Reminding me of MARor –
Eaten on Passover to remember how burdensome,
Difficult and bitter the Jews’ slavery in Egypt was.
IAM (YAM) – ocean.
Tumultuous, never still.
Always swirling and scaring children out of it.
MIRIAM – my Hebrew name.
I grew into that name resentfully.
I reacted when I was called that by fellow classmates,
For what else could I do?
But time went by
And I began collecting seashells by the seashore.
The ocean became a treasure and my name
Had a new ring to it.
Yet when eighth grade graduation came around I was given the option
Of writing Mariya instead of Miriam.
I was going to high school where I didn’t know anyone.
So no one needed to know my bitter past.
I also learned that a name was not made up of syllables
But of sweet sounds.
Mmm – like the taste of something so delicious your eyes close
And you feel yourself melting.
Aaa – you’ve just finished your meal and on this hot summer day
You find solace in the cool water running down your back in the shower.
Rrr – racing, running, reaching for the sky.
That’s the sound I want my plane to make when I can hold a piece of
Cloud in the palm of my hand and feel its silver lining.
Iii – the sound of “and” in many languages. The sound of something more,
Reminding me that this is not the end.
Ya – the sound of agreement and conclusion. As if that is all I have to say…so yeah.