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Untitled, Cleo Little

Poem by Cleo Little, Year 12

During the workshop we were stripped of our names, given numbers, and forbidden to use our birth names. The following piece is my response to this.

My name is Cleo Josephine Little. It is just a name, and arrangement of letters, of sounds. It is not unique yet it is special, it is mine. It acts as a key to my past unlocking my history as it connects me to my ancestors. My middle name, Josephine, was the name of my great-great grandmother, a woman who exists, for me, only in a black and white photograph. Having her name grounds me in my family?s past, as a reminder of my heritage

My number is 147714. 147714. Even as I repeat it, it does not become more familiar to me. My number is strange, unrecognisable and foreign. It holds no special meaning, does not symbolise or represent anything of significance. It fulfils its purpose by marking me out from others, yet leaves me devoid of any sense of identity. I feel indistinctive and unimportant. It is utterly degrading, am I not worthy of a name? Am I just a number, a statistic? I feel like a commodity, a faceless animal, part of a larger herd. Removing my name eradicates my sense of history and therefore, destroys part of me.

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