My Name Is Thirst

This is a poem that I wrote when I was 14, but because of the story behind it, it remains one of my favorite poems that I’ve ever written. In my first-year French class, we were learning some basic phrases, and the teacher asked a student to say, “I’m thirsty.” In French, that is “J’ai soif,” but my classmate said, “Je m’appelle soif.”

“My name is thirst,”the teacher translated. “Very poetic.” That stuck with me all year, until, in the spring, we had to write a small book of poems for my English class. I remembered that sentence, “My name is thirst,” and related to it, inspiring me to write.

What I learned from that and what I still carry with me is that even a “mistake” can turn into something beautiful.


My name is thirst, thirst for

Water,

Pure and simple,

Lemonade,

Sour-sweet together,

Orange juice,

Nurtured by the sun.

 

Standing by myself,

No one to stand beside,

No one

To call my friend,

I do

Not smile or shine.

 

I am in a desert,

Of crowds and concrete,

Where is the oasis

In the swirling sands, confused,

Where is the water,

In the empty plastic bottles,

In the empty plastic souls?

 

At home, my name is thirst for

Water,

Pure and simple,

Lemonade,

Sour-sweet together,

Orange juice,

Nurtured by the sun.

 

But in this desert?

 

My name is thirst, thirst for

Smiles,

Nurtured by the sun,

Friendship,

Sour-sweet together,

Acceptance,

Pure and simple.

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