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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Jasmine Flower

By: Yasmin Kloth

I never asked my mother  for the list she made  of other names  I could have been the day I was born. I knew the one she gave me  was the only one she loved,  name I bent into a boomerang  so it never quite sounded  like its Arabic origin, so    I could blend  in my American schools  the way a bird will press  brown feathers  against the grass, become  the grass even though  I hungered  for the way my family  pronounced my name,  “s” in the middle long  and soft: a song, a lost note,  a scent I knew once  on my mother's skin,  leftover garlic and salt  leftovers of the person I was. My mother named me  a small, white-petaled flower.  When she would stumble  on this plant in the store  or the street she’d announce in her tilted  accent “Ah Laaaaa”  with her nose buried deep  in green leaves as if  she had seen me that day  for the very first time.


Yasmin Mariam Kloth's creative nonfiction and poetry scratches at love, loss, place, and space, with a focus on exploring her Middle Eastern heritage. Her work has appeared in such journals as Gravel, West Texas Literary Review, JuxtaProse, O:JA&L, the Rockvale Review, and others. She lives in Cincinnati, OH with her husband and young daughter.

"I originally wanted to write a poem about my daughter's name, but each time I would draft a few lines, I kept returning to a memory of my mother and the joy she exuded whenever she came across Jasmine flowers. I started to write the memory down, and in time the poem told the story not of my daughter's name, but of my own."


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