What are you, they ask with their eyes
and — the bolder — with their mouths:
Egyptian? Spanish? Mexican? Italian?
I smile and nod, accepting the lies
gleefully: becoming a kaleidoscope
hiding my name because it is
a giveaway, taking on
personas as an explorer
which one will ink
like a tattoo and
which slough off
They narrow their gaze
furrow their brows
in a desperate need to understand
where I stand
amidst my friends, my lovers,
my chosen family
It’s so hard, they complain,
I never know who’s who
I’m me, I’d like to respond,
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Atreyee Gupta is a Pushcart Prize and Shirley Jackson award nominee whose work has been published in numerous venues such as Apparition Lit, Arc Poetry, Bacopa, Haven Speculative, Jaggery, and Tahoma Literary Review. Atreyee’s work has also appeared in anthologies published by Finishing Line Press, Owl Canyon Press, and Main Street Rag. Atreyee is the creator of Bespoke Traveler (www.bespoketraveler.com), a digital alcove for curious explorers.