This thing about names haunts me.
My own name shadows me wherever I go,
and I am not clever or quick enough to give it the slip,
to lose it in crowd of people,
or slide it into the pocket of some stranger
and hide in stillness and silence in some dark alley
until he passes by.

We all are cursed with a name,
given to each of us by a stranger,
that chains us to a destiny.

Would I by any other name
have lived the life I have lived?
Would I by any other name
be the one who is writing this poem?

Is it the name one is given
that settles upon each of us like a shroud,
or the act of naming itself that is the crime?

Have you tried to lose yourself
in the vast open under the stars
even before the moon has risen?
Have you tried to leave your name
on a park bench next to the old man
feeding pigeons?

In Loutro Bay on the southern shores of Crete,
where the winds of North Africa disturb the water,
Odysseus sways from side to side
but stays tethered to the shore.

© Robert Romanyshn