The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 –2178


Volume-2                                                  december -2012                                                Number-2


When You Don't Know Who You Are

by Alinda Dickinson Wasner


You can make things up--

Are you French they ask?

Russian? Jewish?

Why not? Everyone’s

Seen you before anyway

Say you have a twin!

At this point you must have been

Separated at birth from duodecaplets!

Even the hygienist at the dentist's


Says there's another patient

Looks just like you

Swears you to secrecy

When she pulls up the chart.

Well, maybe a slight resemblance

You nod, noting the disparity

But that's part of it, I suppose,

Having to please someone else

On the off chance

That someday you could

Find family

Not have to scan the crowds

At Big Ten games

Instead of catching

The play-by-play

Never mind the times

You convinced yourself

That you'd know them

When you saw them

And they you

Only to not even recognize

Your very own son

As he walked straight

Toward you that time

You visited him at boot camp

He in his army fatigues

And you in his favorite blue dress

And though he was

Old enough not to be

Embarrassed to kiss his mom

In public, he was still too young

To admit he’d been wrong

About the military

That he couldn’t really

Get his mind around killing.

But you could read his face.

And so you stood there

In the middle of the parade grounds

Hugging and hugging

Until the shriek of whistles

And a bullhorn

And threat of court martial

Forced you off the field--

Both of you

Knowing you'd found


You didn’t know

you’d been looking for

All along.