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Last Names

Last Names
by Edmund Siejka

Whenever I meet someone
At a party, a restaurant or in line at a store
And the conversation turns to last names 
I respond politely
When they ask
What nationality is that?
The question strikes me as anachronistic
Like how old were you when you were born?

For some of us
The spelling and pronunciation 
Of our last names can be challenging 
Harboring a jumble of
Consonants and vowels 
Without rules
But we need to remember 
That each last name has a proud past
And each name has a future. 

If rudely pressed for an explanation  
I sometimes describe my last name as “American”
Clearly stating   
That my great grandparents immigrated from Europe
Over a hundred fifty years ago
And we’ve been here ever since.

In this day of fluid identities
My answer seems somewhat vague and evasive
And occasionally met with arched eyebrows
From people I hardly know
But it stops them from asking additional questions
As I feel under no obligation to say more
After all 
Didn’t we all come from somewhere else? 

Copyright © Edmund Siejka | Year Posted 2019


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  1. Date: 7/16/2019 2:06:00 PM

    Great poetry Edmund..