Before the internet, I thought my name was unique. I loved to say it aloud; let it roll around my mouth like the best wine. Singular.
Then I found there were others that share this name that I wanted to claim all my own. Of all ages: younger and older. I found a blues singer, Brenda Patterson, and an opera singer, Brenda Patterson. I found versions of the name in the romance writing world, Brenda Joyce, and even in the movies, 40s actress, Brenda Joyce.
I keep finding iterations of me
dead, newly dead, or alive
busy, claiming the spots
that could’ve been mine.
That first me whose obit
I found, rattled like so
many bones in a divining
cup, thrown at my feet.
By the fifth passing, I’d grown
enough to read (her)story
without ice cleaving me in two.
The problem is the ones
eager and wanting more
marking territory, living it up
being themselves, not me.