Κατρίνα | Virgil Saunders

My mother wanted to name me Paris, which, for a time,
was synonymous with stain.
But who would equate a 12-year-old girl
with faux infantilism, labias flashing before paparazzi,
and not baguettes or bicyclettes?

I have Camille in my head for my daughter,
a name that follows the first of my closest and dearest friend, who,
(at the tender of age of 14), became synonymous with
underfunded infrastructure, officially sanctioned ignorance,
Arabian horses crushed under the weight of truckloads
of bodies picked off Interstate 10, bloated out of the water,
white roof-top flags that emaciated bodies put back on once in the helicopter,
American guns pointed at American refugees on American concrete,
airports turned auction houses where Texas and Florida and Arkansas and Georgia
and Washington’s Columbia bid on weary hides.

My closest and dearest friend became Katrina Lee, Katrina Winfrey, Katrina Jolie-Pitt, Katrina Penn, Katrina Freeman, Katrina Belafonte, Katrina West, Katrina Myers, Katrina Bush, Katrina Rice, Katrina Brown, Katrina Chertoff, Katrina Blanco, Katrina Nagin, Katrina Compass, Katrina O’Brien, Katrina Cooper; Katrina,
variant of the English Katherine, from the Greek Saint ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνα ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς.

————
Virgil Saunders is a Maryland native with a mind for investigating language, literature, and how both influence and express culture. Though an obsessive writer since childhood, she found her creative home at the University of Maryland’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. There, she started The Writer’s Bloc, a publication dedicated to local arts and literature. Virgil has been published in The Voices Project, BLACKBERRY: a magazine, with pending publication coming in Loud Zoo

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