SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

My Name

He approaches with pen and paper,

asks for my name and number.

I indulge him

his daily ritual;

I’m a stranger, after all

and he, gracious host,

offers donuts I refuse.

So to this small request, how can I say no?

He writes my name

then—digit by digit—jots it down,

a number he hasn’t dialed in months,

a quest for connection,

a map to a road he’ll never drive.

But tomorrow, I know,

he may discover the paper in the pocket

of the pants he’s reluctant to change.

And if I’m here when he does it,

he’ll at least marvel at the coincidence.

But this time,

he asks—

unlike before—

“Whose child are you?”

I reply, watching his face. 

“Yours.”

And the joyous smile, the marvel,

is enough.


Nivi Engineer (yes, that really is her last name) is the author of The Indian Girl's Definitive Guide to Staying Single. Her work appears in The Louisville Review, Crack the Spine, Belletrist, Page and Spine, and other literary journals. She's spent way too much time in school: BA in English from Case Western Reserve University, MS in Computer Science from Washington University in St. Louis, MFA in Fiction from Spalding University. Which come in handy as she drives her kids to soccer all around the Greater Cleveland area, where she lives with her husband, 3 sons, and dog.

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