WRITTEN BY ADITI RAJU
What’s in a name
besides history and turmeric powder,
bloodline and lotus roots,
and truth playing atop a mango bough?
Jhumpa is no Nilanjana,
but nicknames chime sweeter than cumin-spiced
syllables for strangers to cough
through (better for business too).
Yet when my father stumbles on
the sticky branches of homographs and idioms,
no one bends their trunks of pompous words
to make room for him to pass through.
So thank God my father slashed the mango pulp
of his surname
in half and grafted it to my newborn roots. Short
enough to escape crooked tongues, though
the yellow smear of a bitter-flavored accent lingers
to remind me: had I not been born in the land of the
these lines would have rhymed enough,
this name would be mine.
Aditi Raju is a 17-year-old living in California's Bay Area. Her work has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Live Poets Society of New Jersey, PTSA Reflections, and the National It's All Write Teen Writing Contest. When not writing, she enjoys designing logos, listening to film scores, and defending Oxford commas.