Changing Your Name

They came calling for your father, for your brother.
Shades drawn, your mother searched a thousand fading postmarks
for a name, a promise, a paper boat
to sail to America. Standing at the docks,

you hold out your passport stamped “Stadtlos.”
You. Just like the silly old men in black hats and sidelocks,
shuffling around with their fat books, their beards smelling of goose fat and garlic,
ruining things for everyone. In America

you’ll dress like a mobster, in store-bought suits. You’ll wear your hair
slicked back, buy a great big car with curtains on the windows
to drive your mother to temple.

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