In this body, Naomi, I collect a thousand books.
I have no room for cleverness.
I have no room for patience.
I’ve forgotten to write the date: October, 2016.
On my computer, an American man at a rally screams the word cunt.
(I tie back my hair before I write to you. I roll up my sleeves.)
You’ve seen this man before too, Naomi.
We’ve both known him our whole lives.
I ran into him once in a nightclub in Washington.
Another time, four of him followed me to my car, the streetlamp above us broken.
Would you like to borrow a book, Naomi?
The text I reach for first describes the side view of a girl.
(In this story, I pressed my pelvis flat against my ass, to mitigate my profile.
Even when I was a girl, Naomi, I longed to disappear.)
The man sees us everywhere, and he insists on seeing us.
But the library is yours, Naomi. The stories, alone, are yours.
The first time I heard my name was in a supermarket parking lot in suburban
My mother said never repeat that word.
It is a terrible word just for a woman.
When I asked her the man’s name, she said he has none.
When I asked her what to call the man’s body, she said nothing.
This text I read to you, Naomi, ends disappear, O sickness, from the sound of this word.
But I have no desire for reclamation.
I cannot fit this name in my mouth and still breathe.
Instead, I will write you another letter.
It begins and ends like this: Naomi. Naomi. Naomi.