“A Person, Place or Thing” by Evelyn Deshane

Whatever they call you, you can transcend your name
the letters stand up as a sign for the face
for your skin & your voice. The name is not the thing
that people can trace in their bed at night. Not the thing
people remember in their dreams. They see your shadow
the way you walk, your starling-eyes, & the way you hold yourself.
The letters are place holders. When we empty them out
& mix them around, nothing is there. A lace filament. A goss.
You can change your name & it will all be the same.
But I will still cry out for you with new letters
I will still use your new sound & recognize it in my ears
with a smile. I will still understand that though you
are the same in my dreams, though your voice is the same
(sometimes deeper, sometimes a whisper)
that your name is not. When I put my ear up to a shell
I hear the ocean. But sometimes from the east & sometimes from the north.
It is hard to tell at first, but it is there. There is a difference in the sound
but not in the empty space between ourselves.
Like you, in my bed. I feel the difference in fingers
& grasp it for myself. Your new name fills my mouth
it changes shape; I sound it out.
Thank you, I understand the heart of this & we should
sleep together now, love. Make some new noises
become new nouns.


Evelyn Deshane’s creative and nonfiction work has appeared in Plenitude Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, Strange Horizons, Lackington’s, and Bitch Magazine, among other publications. Evelyn (pron. Eve-a-lyn) received an MA from Trent University and is currently completing a PhD at the University of Waterloo. Evelyn’s most recent project #Trans is an edited collection about transgender and nonbinary identity online. Follow @evelyndeshane or visit evedeshane.wordpress.com for more info.