my name


was a jacket that never really fit

but we made it.

nothing could mute my features

which screamed



non belonging.

the jacket made me smaller.

i took up less space.

i made them feel more comfortable

i lived under layers.

but the jacket slowly got tighter.

as i grew bigger

as i got older

as i became wiser

as i took larger breaths to breathe

to exist

to be full.


is easy on their tongue

is pleasing to their eye

is familiar to their senses

is a name from their

mother’s mother. 


is a reminder that i carry


their legacy

their load

their burdens

their labor.


is not my ancestors

is not my tongue

is not my tone

is not my name.

i am. 

the people of the jungle

the people of the fields

the people of the boats

the people of guerilla warfare tactics that always defeat


my indigenous name. 

was given by my mother’s brother on the day i was born

was absent from my american birth certificate

was presented only in the presence of my people

but no more.

no more jacket

made of threads dipped in silence

and woven too tight

to stretch and fit.

no more jacket 

made by the hands of strangers

with pockets too small 

to carry my truths.

my indigenous name 

means poet.

it is my armor

it is my ancestors

it is my tongue

it is my tone.


is my name.


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