Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Simms: Names

Lea wants to change her name to Tina.

Her mother says she must think very carefully

because a name has to fit.

The wrong name can bind like someone else’s shoes.

Who knows where a name has walked,

dust of what roads, uncomfortable creases across the toe,

the heel worn down by someone else’s sorrow?


Her brother says the name Tina fits.

But if she’s Tina, what happened to Lea?

The name turned down the wrong street, got lost,

fell off the edge of the mountain.

The sound of her name fills the river valley.

Everywhere it is nowhere, he says,

her name needs to come home.


Lea doesn’t want to be Tina anymore.

It’s just too much responsibility.


Copyright 2006, 2018 Michael Simms. First appeared in The Happiness of Animals published by Monkey Sea Editions.

3 comments on “Michael Simms: Names

  1. Carole Brooks Platt
    June 16, 2018

    Makes me laugh because when I was a senior in college I changed my name to Jennifer. I left for a year at the Sorbonne and got dear Jennifer letters from my then boyfriend. I’ve now been married for 45 years to that guy and I’m not Jennifer anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. James Turnbull
    June 16, 2018

    I love this poem. It is fun. I’m sorry I am so bad at staying in touch. It feels like I am in daily contact as you are the first thing I do everyday. I’m at the airport with my grandson. We’re going to China for two weeks. I will try to call when I get home. Jim

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      June 16, 2018

      Thanks, Jim. I miss our conversations and adventures together, but I understand that your travel schedule and family obligations keep you busy. China with your grandson? How exciting! Have a great trip!

      Liked by 1 person

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