Not a Canadian ‘eh’
at the end. No short aahhh, either
when you realize I
didn’t spell or say my own name wrong.
The native speaker’s way is sticky brown,
uvula vibrating arrr: Tamarrr
against the gluey peel of dates
cleaving tongue to roof of mouth.
A different name, hard to say in English.
name, where are you from?
Before Christ. Not nice.
Amateur harlot and sister of Amnon.
A tree. The jungle
a house in the old German colony turned Swiss
embassy. My parents:
Beautiful and Not Polite, and Son of My Right Hand.
A good family, tracing back to Queen Bathsheba’s
A name is not prophecy, but my parents hoped
I would be flexible and upstanding
like my namesake, the date palm, and not cling
I took a professional designation on the left,
kept my maiden name, on the right.
Now I go days choosing not to say
my middle name, the chosen one.
I always felt my fate dangling
between right and left, on the arc of the sun
rising east and falling
left. In Hebrew letters –
my name does not drag
ink. My writing hand never darkens
from the imprint of palms rereading words backwards.
My parents chose Canada, this name: Tamar,
Toronto. They could have chosen Jessica
and Jerusalem, or Rebecca, Regina. Or Tammy
and my nickname would have been Tam,
a single Hebrew syllable for simple.