Yesterday, it finally happened.

I received the email we all
dread

from my intimidating digital bodyguard:

YOUR IDENTITY HAS BEEN COMPROMISED

Yes, it must be too late if

the dark web lurkers already have everything that

(defines labels categorizes
legitimizes)

has made me
me

and a flurry of password changes is
useless

to reclaim my self, my person, my
-

 

Amazon shopping cart

Goodreads
bookshelves

period cycle tracker

step & breath counter

REM cycle syncer

pile of credit card debt

slew of Facebook “HBD“s

list of passwords, emailed to myself

J’s first selfie, no filter
The text where she broke up with me

Last email from my Ammamma

The last photo she smiled in —

 

Things that had lost meaning long before,

bits & bytes in a shoebox

dusty and battered on a roadside curb.

How can the data miners compromise what

I agreed to compromise long ago?

I’ll be whatever you need me to be

I begged, I offered, I
bragged;

be from wherever you need me to be from

performer for the crowds, left in knots after the shows.

These identity thieves, I only
chase

because I want to see what they stole -

It’s been so long since I thought I had anything left at all.

Anjali Nirmalan taught English for seven years in Boston public schools before relocating to her current position at an international high school in Monterrey, Mexico. She was inspired by her 2019 summer at the BLSE Santa Fe campus to use the codex format to explore issues of gender, sexuality, bilingualism, and indigeneity.

About her piece Anjali says, “This poem was written during Damian Baca’s class, Mexican American Reinventions, at the Santa Fe campus during summer 2019. We were asked to pile personal objects in the middle of the floor, then pick one out to use as inspiration for our eventual class codex. I ended up with someone’s ID card, which is what inspired the poem I wrote and shared with the class.”