i’ve had so many names
some I’ve taken to use as
the where and when and who the way
the way others mark with memory of time
others I hold like embers in my chest
constantly burning and smoldering and waiting
for me to remember and scald again,
hot sparks against the lining of my throat
I hold my name in my palms. I hold it there and it does not feel like mine. It never feels like mine.
I’ve had so many names
I hold it in my palms, it is flowing between the cracks of my fingers, scarred rivers and
It is a leaking I don’t know I would stop even if I could.
I wonder how I am supposed to be a
when my name is as changeable as clothes,
when I will still respond to slut as well as girl as well as aspen as well as bitch as well as
names I will never speak again but will always carry
Instead of coins they gave me
names I cannot hold
By Aspen McCarry
Aspen McCarry (they/them) is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh studying history and LGBTQ+ studies. When not writing, they can often be found drawing, making music, and trying to teach their cat a new trick.