"Nameless." Sarena Khasawneh, (2019).

January 27, 2020

"A family name

A family with names as intricate as our stories

Navigating what to respond to

Choosing our names like good jeans

Which name will i wear today. 

Identity stolen from us. By us. 

“Father whose name was traded in for a business to call his own

But what is nameless ownership

Let them know the satisfaction the food on their plate brings them 

comes from the skillfulness passed thru generation

Hands strong enough to wage Judos war

Fingers precise for tetas pinches of spice

From ahmed to khalil

From naame to khalil

But instead u tell them your name is kelly because it rolls off their tongue 

Figured as long as they taste ur lineage

They can choke on ur name

And u can stomach the pain

 Mother whose name changes as frequently as she does

molds to cater to the men who offer a namesake

You struggle to preserve the dignity of your first, last name

As if the men who continue to claim u did not strip you of your naivety 

Calling you only when using you and then forgetting both name and value once you learned to say no. 

You struggle to preserve your second, last name.

Hoping this one fits you better.

This new name is big. In letters. In sounds. In responsibilities. 


You must train your throat to make these sounds.

And To stop making other sounds

U shrink and grow 

make ur big heart fit whatever they have offered of their own

Searching to leave the name that used its letters as a collar around your neck

Brother whose name i envy.

I am sorry you have been taught to surrender

Do not allow them to rename you. 

U have confused their laziness with inability 

Friends, teachers, bosses and now lovers.

Those unwilling to learn your name

Are undeserving of your stories.

Demand they say it. Ahmed. 

Remind them of the difficulty your grandfather endured for the country where his wife and him had planted 10 seeds 

You carry the name said to have blessed our entire family.”

And for myself. 

Sometimes i convince myself that i am lucky. That being easily swallowed is sweet

Dropping my hyphen because i have already been given one too many hyphens 

to try and make identifying me any more complicated. Mixed-race. Jordanian-American. Sarena-lyn. 

Sacrificing the part of me dedicated to my maternal grandmother

Forgetting that she climbs on her roof at age 76

 she says "i didn’t need a man to help me through labour or to travel the country so i don’t need a man to cut a damn tree" 

Carried a gun in her purse from age 18 and hasn’t let bullshit cross her path since

I am sorry that i have failed to hold that strength with me 

That i have abandoned a part of my name that connects us

The proof of our similarity when our appearances couldn’t be more different

We are a family with enough names to fill the ocean. 

Learning who we are

And what to call ourself

We Will manipulate it. 

And so will others.

A name is the beginning and the end. 

And the bond between."

IG: sar.khas.tic