What’s in a Name? by Yvonne Zipter

What’s in a Name?

It was his before it was mine,
and so I hated it, its initial initial

like an angry bee in one’s ear,
its hard consonants hard as kicks

with a boot. Once upon a time,
I wanted to discard it, to choose

a moniker unsullied by history.
But now that he’s gone, it’s mine.

And now that it’s mine,
I can hear the music in it,

like the chime of a typewriter bell,
recognize that it’s breezy as a zephyr,

assertive as a chili pepper. The Z, I see
now, is fearsome as a cobra, swaying

to the music of a pungi—charming despite
the hint of danger down its sinuous spine.


Yvonne Zipter is author of the poetry collections The Wordless Lullaby of Crickets, Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, The Patience of Metal (Lambda Literary Award Finalist), and Like Some Bookie God, the Russian historical novel Infraction, and the nonfiction books Diamonds Are a Dyke’s Best Friend and Ransacking the Closet. Her individual published poems are being sold in two repurposed toy-vending machines in Chicago, the proceeds of which support a local nonprofit organization.

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