www.whyville.net Mar 22, 2015 Weekly Issue

Guest Poet

Victim of a Weird Name: Part 4

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xviii. summertime

when summer is here
it's easy to forget
easy to forget that you have a strange name.
in my home i'm just me.
michael, hope, and faith know that.
i'm proud of myself for graduating
happy that for 3 months
i don't have to reminded that my name
is different . . .

summer is so beautiful
long days with nothing to do.
but my mother forces me to go to the deli two blocks away
every week to buy groceries.

i hate it, but soon become familiar with the owner
his name is giuseppe.
he is old, and wise, and bald.
he wears a cowboy hat and speaks with a southern drawl.

at first, i couldn't pronounce his name (i still can't)
and he can't pronounce mine.
but it's fine.
we've been united by our strange names.

xix. billy goat high school

my high school mascot is a --
wait for it.
are you ready?

a billy goat!
i laughed out loud,
when i saw that in my handbook
and everyone in my class looked at me.
i had a name tag on my desk,
my skin tan from being in the sun all summer
hair in a straggly ponytail,
laughing too loud.

i start to say something,
but the teacher cuts me off.
oh no.
my name.
summer has let me forget.
not anymore.

she is confused by the time she reaches me

"how do you say that?"

i mumble it out, as everyone
turns to look at me again.
i hate it, i hate it, i hate it.

summer has let me forget
but school is cruel.

xx. a new leaf

i looked over the books for hours,
deciding my fate.
i needed a new name.
something that wouldn't make me
stand out.

who was i?


i see it.
chloe, i'm going to be chloe.

i like that name, chloe
chloe, i'm going to be chloe
that's me, chloe
say it with me -- chloe
chloe, i'm going to be chloe

xxi. chloe, i'm chloe

when role-call happens the next day
i interrupt when the teacher gets to me
"it's chloe." i say coolly.
as if i weren't changing my identity
as if i were just stating a fact
that had been there all my life.

"you go by chloe?"


she makes a note somewhere.
i positively beam
i could explode


xxii. friends

i don't know if it's because i changed my name
or because i stopped trying to pick fights
or because i became, as my mom said,
a much more pleasant person,
but now,
i sit at a lunch table,
i always have a partner for projects
i have someone to laugh with and tell stories to

i don't stand out anymore
no one knows me from last year
where i punched the principal in the stomach
and fought a 6th grader (what was i thinking?)

when my name was ____
where i got the best grades in the whole 8th grade
with a perfect GPA
but couldn't help saying things
when i should have just shut up
and where i saved the class pet, herman, from death

sometimes i wonder what would happen
if i stayed the same,
a smart-aleck outcast named ____
i don't like that idea

i'm glad to be chloe.


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