goswami
My Name
by Amlanjyoti Goswami

What’s not in a name?
Mine contains my spirit, they say.
Take away my name, and you
Take away myself
Like Samson and his hair

In these parts, they think a lot before
Giving you a name
Consult horoscopes
Find soothsayers, astrologers, free thinkers
Each with a point of view
Each with a name

My name contains no village or
Father Mother
This means I had already moved on.
I know friends who can tell
Their place in the world
By summoning the lost characters of a name
I can do no such tricks.

I ask
Why?
Could I not be that guy
With his free-flowing tongue
Why should I be the one to stutter?

I, who was named
For light,
Unfaded, brilliant
Light?

PHOTOGRAPH: Amlanjyoti Goswami.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: While writing the poem, I was reminded of a meeting with Harold Bloom, the professor at Yale. He was signing his name for me in one of his books, and found it prudent to ask my name. “What does your name mean?” he asked. I told him. “At my age,” he said, “I find it difficult to live up to my surname.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poems have appeared in The Caravan, Mint, IQ: The Indian Quarterly, Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi), The North East Review, and The Poetry Shed. His stories have been published by Himal SouthAsian and Papercuts: Desi Writers Lounge.  He grew up in Guwahati, Assam, and lives in Delhi.