by Melina Papadopoulos
Sometimes, I want to ask you
if my name still tastes like something.
it's taken every last drop
of summer's sunlight stamina
for me to finally feel like a picnic.
I've just begun to dot my I's
with watermelon seeds.
I could be an ant farm if my blood cells
give out and decide that oxygen is too heavy
to carry to another breath I'll take for granted.
I don't have a Mount Zion in me.
I can't make internal pilgrimages worth it.
perhaps one day, my brain
will decide that it was trivial to carry
a name outside of childhood where you could
have called me that kid or something
and I would have been just as lost in my own skin,
even if someone replaced my heart with a compass
and my feet with a map that knows the way
without my reading so deeply into its travel lines.
So refresh my memory.
Put a familiar taste on my tongue,
a foreign one even.
Is my name still something
that you don't even chew before swallowing?
Don't worry, I don't want to melt in your mouth.
I am afraid of melting because
it could be the only death that doesn't come equipped
with an afterlife.
Is it too much of a hassle to still call me sweet?
I that know cavities are a burden.
I know that dental drills scold before forgiving.
Eventually, you hear your mother's voice
in that spinning snarl. Eventually,
you remember that your mouth is wide open
and that you're wide awake.
to think of names that you can't assign to nouns,
just adjectives and so I'll just come right out
and say it,
is my name still beautiful?
Could it be the real name
of a real wildflower?
If not, that's okay, I want
to be a scientific name.
I want to flavor soup
in Latin and, if I must,
with my death-cap tendencies,
I want to put out a dinner party
But sometimes, I want to do more
than ask you. I want to tell you
to close your eyes and open your mouth,
and I want to place this name of mine
on the taste bud with the best memory
I think you'd forget me
if I let you keep your eyes open.