I Want You to Say My Name by Neha Maqsod

*From Issue Two: Culture

starbucks,
usually my last choice for coffee,
is today my first.
office workers, construction men,
college students and me
needing their shots of daily coffee,
the white girl in her early 20’s, green and black attire inquires,
bringing me out of my reverie,
‘what will it be?’,
sorry,
was just laughing at the redundancy of,
chai tea.
‘a small latte’.
‘name? she asks,
wishing I was an ann, john or tom,
but reminding myself that
i’m laced with melanin,
swallow and reply,
‘ne-ha’, enunciating each syllable so
clearly my mouth
fuck*ng hurts.
the slightly confused look
i get in return,
tells me to
anticipate a chuckle,
from what I’ll read on
my cup of coffee.
maybe it’s the PMS,
maybe it’s the anxiety,
but today, I need someone to put an effort,
into
saying
spelling
struggling
over my name.
because today,
i don’t feel like looking down on my Pakistani heritage,
but,
unapologetically,
making them realise,
how each syllable in my name
was the result of my nana, nani,
avoiding
colonial treachery.

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