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My Three Names
by Jackie Fox

Jacqueline was heavy artillery.
Reserved for behavior so awful
Mom hauled out first, middle and last.

Except in fourth grade, when we had
three Jackies in our class and I got stuck
with Jacqueline. I wasn’t quite as unhappy
as that air base boy from the South.
Jack was way too Yankee for his liking.

The rest of the time I was Jackie. Most people
thought I was named for the First Lady
but they were all wrong. Mom’s love
was closer to home. She named me
for a girl she babysat.

Dad was different.
He always called me Jake.
I knew I’d been away from home too long
when he greeted me with Jackie
at the front door.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author as a young girl.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It’s funny how this call for submissions got me thinking about my three very different names. Even today, Jacqueline is only for driver’s license/travel ID purposes. Although I think it’s a beautiful name, it never really felt like me. And Jake is reserved for those who know me well. It’s the only name my husband uses for me unless he’s introducing me to people we don’t know. He mentioned Jackie one day at work and someone actually said, “Who’s that?” and he said, “My wife.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Fox lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband Bruce. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bellevue Literary Review, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, and Rattle. She was previously published in the Silver Birch Press Celebrity Free Verse series. She has completed one semester toward an MFA in the University of Nebraska creative low-residency writing program.