p(o)em (o)n changing the spelling (o)f my name t(o) make it s(o)und mexican again


accent the o in mi nombre:
my ó
so that when he calls
and demands my name
i     say   it
in a voice he thinks is sex y
—not because i actually moan
but because have to say “moan”
to say mónica, and my ó isn’t
a moan at all but it’s almost like scat
singing, like   ó    nó ,   mató pó   …   eia!
for his pleasure.

the risk of accenting my name is this: it’s like me ó
-pening my legs for him through the phone, and when he hears my
pronunciation he is determined to know whether i am
An American Citizen; just by lengthening my ó longer
than the wind capacity of Yankee lungs does his my o pia   come
to bear and he wants to have a closer look at my ó.

my ó is pregnant
the accent is the shirt tail left untucked easily grabbed and Yanked
as the conduit to my nudity
to my new
i added it

because i had to, because
there is no room in the anglo o     rthography
for an accented o, an ó
who is a mother with an umbilical cord
hanging out loose  un    bridled               but   still
filled with a child. ortho is from the greek orthos and means
just that: straight and erect, which describes my ó
as it is plucked up, straight and erect as
if by a stem, straight and erect like an apple’s
only my apple was never an apple at all;
when i accented my o i transformed it into
an ópal

my ó pal abides by no legislation
it is in flucks between the American Forces[who sought to nick the tick off my ó
the small plucked up straight and erect appendage
that granted me, my name its pleasure
that rendered me, upon introducing myself,
an opportunity to moan. Colonialism
is the same as Clitorectomy
because they found it threatening
because it was small but had the capacity
to power over the human brea (d) th      and surge
the space that a vowel, unshapen and without hard edges
could come over every other bony consonant surrounding it
in totality
they took it away] and my —

PENELOPE ROMO is a California-raised, recent East Coast transplant who has taught English and creative writing to young students in classrooms across the U.S. and the world. If you wander into a coffee shop and survey the room for illegible notebook scribblers and daydreamers, chances are she’ll be among them. Penelope is also an activist committed to fighting for women’s and immigrants’ rights; when she’s not protesting on the front lines, she’s probably writing a poem about it.