I have my father’s name and his before him
and on and on all the way back to the day we
walked out of India.

I am born of a man; of many men.

I have dust in my veins;

Red dust of roads long forgotten.
Yellow dust of sun-scorched deserts.
Black dust of my ancestors lost on the wind.

It itches. My feet dance,
drawing me back to the road;

our road.

Amare drom.

I have my father’s name and his before him
on and on all the way back to the day we
were rounded up and sent to
death camps.

I am born of death; of many deaths.

I have ash in my veins;

Ash of the fires we set to stay warm;
Ash of the fires that were set to burn us out;
Ash of the fires that were set to annihilate us
and erase us from history.

It itches. My heart dances
like a bird in a cage with
clipped wings;

our wings.

Amare phaka.

I have my father’s name and his before him
on and on all the way back to the day…
to this day.

I am Mirga; Zavacko; Žeželj; Cooper

I am names that were born in India and Poland and Slovakia
I am names that we stole so that we could hide in plain sight

My names have been taken
by people who want to pretend to be
different

but not so different that they’re
born with dust in their veins
or ash in their lungs

and names that can’t be spoken.

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