You give your name a shadow so it won’t follow you

Benign: some things mark you that are neither sad nor angry,
neither bitter nor sad, nor other combination of feeling.
In lamplight, moles lie quiet on your thigh, soft brown

constellation you used to trace with a fingertip as a child.
And the one below the outer edge of your left eye: modest
as a freckle, yet that one, your elders clucked most

about— saying A pity it lies in the place where tears
are bound to fall
. They dripped hot wax into a waiting
bowl of water and sucked on a fingertip with which

they made the sign of the cross on your forehead and feet.
To trick the gods, you were given a different name—
long and rough with consonants, clumsy on any tongue.

Did it work? You track the distances between signposts
in this so called life that tries to find and break you.

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