Margaret McGowan


Because I think he may have been
my dad I change my name to his
Not officially no paperwork to speak
of no rubber stamp no notary
public I christen myself Maggie Longo
after the doctor who delivered me
who saw that my twin sister
and I were breech He turned us around
so we could greet this world head-first
It’s an unlikely intuition that he may
have been my father A wistful wish
A far-reaching guess A thought
that catches fire like dry tinder
and takes over like a coup That was
its genesis Then on a whim
I added Afar as my surname So Maggie
Longo Afar is what I call myself Afar being
a magazine on top of a pile of books
on the floor in my living room
My new designations resonate with Long Ago
and Far Away Someone who looked
like me Maybe a boy with blonde
locks A Viking named Ragnar
Lothbrok My real life grandmother
an immigrant from Russia which was plundered
and pillaged by Vikings on a seasonal basis
Or the Neanderthals Or the primordial
soup They are all my ancestors
And I can’t forget Lucy the australopithecus
afarensis fossil who was my greatest
great grandmother who lived 3.2 million
years ago and was also known
as Dinkinesh which means
you are marvelous in Amharic People say
I take after her