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September 2017, vol 13 no 3

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Ruth Holzer

The Name

My name first appeared on a blue and white beaded baby bracelet a nurse tied to my wrist so Mother would know I hadn’t been switched with someone else's newborn, although throughout her life there would be many times when she wished just that. It was grudgingly stitched into shorts and shirts for summer camp. It became part of the lists required by society: students, drivers, voters, taxpayers. Occasionally it would contribute its slight weight to a petition for some lost cause. Through a stack of passports, the name remained unchanged as the face deteriorated. It was inscribed on the flyleaves of thousands of books, asserting ownership, even if I never opened them again. In due course, my name landed on pill bottle labels, complex insurance claim forms and increasingly gloomy medical reports, until it ended up chiseled on a little granite block.

three lines
on the back page—
that was you