What a Middle Name Is – Liam Strong

which undulates beneath a skim of name / you can spin a lover’s name into your grandmother’s / anne marie / mary anne / i have given to strangers the names my parents weighed against each other for me / i have given the names of boys / i have given them a pickling of androgyny & outlines of men who already exist / i hear the middle sandwiched as subsoil / i hear the question of syllables in my sister’s name, sarae / like two random ingredients slushed together: s-er-ay / my coworker leaves her signature in the form of absence / c.l. dunklow / she is neither man nor woman / but something left unfinished / i allow my hand to spasm when i write my name / to scrunch and hide letters behind the shoulders of their neighbors / i want to write something new / in the optional middle name sections of documents / something that reads like it can be loved //      

Liam StrongLiam Strong is a transgender-non-binary writer and the editor-in-chief of NMC Magazine, Northwestern Michigan College’s creative arts magazine. You can find their works in Impossible Archetype, Painted Cave, Dunes Review, Clementine Unbound, Monday Night, IDK Magazine, 3288 Review and Leaves of Ink.