by Shloka Shankar

Wikipedia traces my name
back to its origins:

“song,” from the root śru, “hear”

Shloka forms the basis
for the Indian epic verse.

But my aunt just named
me after her classmate.

They thought it was unique
(ironically) at the time.

Since then, my name has been
grossly mispronounced, misspelled,
and shortened to hideous lengths.
(Yes, I noticed the oxymoron, too.)

And then there are times when
a look in my direction is all there is;

or I become the silence in a room
where I’m not wanted.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This photo was taken on my 26th birthday in Bangalore, India (23 May, 2015).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shloka Shankar (b. 1989) is a freelance writer from Bangalore, India. A contributing author in over two dozen international anthologies, her poems have recently appeared in A Hundred Gourds, moongarlic e-zine, Jaggery, Literary Orphans, Straight Forward Poetry, and so on. She is the founding editor of the literary & arts journal, Sonic Boom.