Etymology of Blaze: Blazen “to shine.” Oxford English Dictionary
by Blaise Allen

I legally change my name to Blaise,
sever my old-sweet-self like a gangrenous
limb. Those who knew the old me ask, why?

Tell them I’m in the witness protection program,
and leave it to their imagination. I claim
an element of power: not insipid air,
wishy-washy water, or crumbling earth.

I claim a name that has flash and history:
a little bit Saint, Stripper, and Nobel prize
winner. Char my old birth certificate
to ash, hasten the Phoenix rising.

Brand myself, wear glittery makeup
and sequined clothes, set off heat
detectors and alarms.

This is my Genesis, I am born again.
Not in church, but through court where
a black robed judge ignites my future
with one burning press of his pen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Blaise Allen, Ph.D. is  a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Director of Community Outreach for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Her poems have been widely published in literary anthologies and journals. Blaise bridges her passion of Social Welfare and poetry through community engagement in the arts: promoting voice, culture, and language arts education.