Named Storm - Believer Magazine
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Named Storm

by Elizabeth Onusko
Illustration by Sarah Maloney

Named Storm

Elizabeth Onusko
50 Snaps
Each phase of my childhood was marked by 
the death of another child,
but my parents didn’t worry much,
and I spent summer afternoons 
nowhere to be found. 
It was the most useful thing I’d taught myself, 
to move through life unnoticed. 
I could put authority figures at ease,
make myself small enough 
on busses and planes, 
disappear into crowds 
when a man trailed me down the street 
or around the mall. 
Once my family, returning from vacation, 
drove for hours through the eye 
of a category-two hurricane,
and its otherworldly calm 
lured me into relaxing
though the strongest part of the storm circled us. 
I remember its name: Bob. 
Generic and unthreatening.
It caused more than a billion dollars in damage.
The following month, 
a woman sat alone at a table
facing the Senate Judiciary Committee 
and spoke into a microphone
about the way her boss had treated her.
I learned what it was called
so when, years later, an interviewer 
groped my thigh, and a coworker 
slapped my butt, and a manager 
assigned me a new project
while staring at my breasts, 
at least I had a name 
for what they did to me,
and I thank her for that, for her voice, 
which, the moment I heard, 
I trusted.




This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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