SHERMAN ALEXIE SIGNED MY BOOK
I wanted to be clever
to say, "my name is Michelle,
but my Indian name is
We would chuckle in harmony,
hydrocephalic chuckles in the key of C.
We would shake hands,
we would look into one another's eyes —
Papilledema into Papilledema—
and we would both know.
Instead, I mumbled my way through a longwinded pseudo-academic masturbatory query about how his work was or was not
by his "physical" "otherness."
He began his answer before
I had finished my question, our words
trampling over one another,
unsure on our tongues and desperate to get out
gasping for air and swallowing salt.
Because we were speaking
the doctor's language
we were strangers to one another.
He signed my novel "Peace,"
I whispered, "Thank you"
and our secret names remained secret.