I Knew My Name- Christine Ray

I knew my name
when grown men
called me ‘honey’
fondled my braids
and pulled my
10-year old body
stiff with resistance
onto their hard laps

I knew my name
when the male high school teacher
called me “sweetie”
and told me not to worry about
the 70 on my exam
because girls don’t need
an A in chemistry
to be a good wife and mother
 

I knew my name
when the teenage boys
called me ‘ice queen’
‘cock tease’
when I didn’t want their
sloppy tongues down my throat
their rough hands
on my budding breasts
 

I knew my name
when men followed me
down the street
called me ‘bitch’
‘fucking dyke’
when I wouldn’t smile
or say thank you
to their declarations
of lewd things
they would do to me
once we were alone
 

I knew my name
when my children
called me ‘mommy’
389 times a day
until I wanted to scream
all other identities
lost in a fugue state
of lack of sleep,
endless laundry
and dirty diapers
 

I knew my name
when male eyes
slid off like teflon
as they absently
called me ‘maam’
when I turned 50
let my hair go gray
chiming in that I reminded them
of their mothers
as if it were a compliment
 

I knew my name
when I trusted my eyes
to see my own truth clearly
and my voice
to speak it
and rejected those names
I did not choose for myself
‘Ms. Badass’ will do just nicely


Christine Ray is a writing, editing tornado who touches down atBrave and RecklessSudden DenouementSudden Denouement PublishingWhisper and the RoarBlood Into Ink, the Go Dog Go Cafe and Indie Blu(e).

Author: Sudden Denouement

A Global Literary Collective

10 thoughts on “I Knew My Name- Christine Ray”

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