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."