I bought a new name today

from a seedy man at the flea market

with oily hair and an oily smile

and a plaid sportcoat that

he opened wide to show me

my selection.

I left it in its box,

I’m going to get it out tonight and

become the new me.

(It’s secret until then.)

The grass was spongy from the rain and all the dealers were tired

because it was so late.

Some of them were packing up,

wrapping poor stained dishes with

wrinkled bits of newspaper.

This man kept his stock in his suitcase

for fast getaways.

He opened his suitcase and

drew out tables and chairs

and clever imitation Tiffany lamps

he sold as the real thing.

He thought he’d found another sucker

in me. No one ever

really renews themselves, you see.

He didn’t know how desperate I’ve gotten.

Who fooled who?

A rose by any other name..?

you ask, afraid to finish.

No, I say,

first the name

and then I change,

day by day till I’m a rose.

Or an onion.

You’ll see tonight when we open the box.

by Cher Bibler