Ana Maria Caballero

A poem by award-winning poet Ana Maria Caballero that explores the meaning behind the sounds that together compose our most frequently used words–our names.

A longer version of this poem was originally published by Gigantic Sequins Literary Journal and is part of Caballero’s manuscript MAMMAL, designated as a Manuscript of Exceptional Merit by Tupelo Press.


Ana, as Greek root,
means on, up, anew.

Ana in English
is per.

As in person.

From the Latin
to sound through—

it comes
from Roman theater,

from actors on stage
whose echoes
punctured costume,

pierced mask,
to declare.

History’s irony,
to tag as self

the wearer
of a fabricated

But Ana as name
comes from the Hebrew
and Arabic word
for grace.

is the transmission
of information
via sound.

Ah. N-ah.

What raw need
is met
by this call?