Once, I had a name as smooth and clear
as all the streams of Poland; it poured through ears
like melting snow; but over here
it warped to ugly consonants
which clattered off your tongues
like Scrabble tiles.
In the local coffee shop last week,
baristas pounded out their war drums,
bashing out the grit of coffee grounds.
What name? said the Recording Angel at the counter,
poised with a tattered ballpoint and plastic cup;
the queue behind me snorted in frustration.
I stared straight through my spectacles and hers
into brown eyes. Jim, I said, biting
a suddenly unwieldy tongue.
Nairn Kennedy lives in Yorkshire, and is a member of the York Stanza Group. He’s been a prizewinner in the Ilkley Walter Swan competition twice, and been published in Ambit and Orbis.