My Grandmother's Pearls

Maggie Kaprielian

July 28, 2022


Derived from the French language as Marguerite,
Latin as Margarita,
And Ancient Greek as Margarítēs.
All equating to a pearl,
A lustrous, gleaming sphere, composed of rich delicacy.

I never met the woman I was named after.
My father isn’t one for telling heart-felt stories around the dinner table.
I grew up with a vague figment of who she truly was,
Along with the unanswered question of, besides being in her bloodline,
Why exactly was I named “Margaret”?

What makes me composed of rich delicacy?

As far back as I can remember,
I’ve simply rejected the eleventh-century name.
“Margaret” never seemed fitting for the reflection of a girl with imperfections.
My fingers repetitively stumble over piano keys.
My voice never knows when it’s rambling or when it’s completely silent.
“Margaret” never encapsulated my earnest existence,
Always too elegant and classical for my own mere perception of myself.

Instead, I gravitate towards Maggie,
Two syllables of pure messiness.
Someone of that name isn’t expected to go through life as a poised ballerina,
Perfectly executing beauty and elegance on the universe’s stage.

The peculiar thing is, my grandmother too rejected the name “Margaret,”
Much preferring Peggy and embracing imperfection.
Yet I own a polished pearl necklace that was once hers,
Its radiance glowing a projection of everything I am not.

When I wear it around my neck, I can hear my grandma’s echo,
Her phantom telling me to never take it off,
To fidget with the surface of the pearls when buried deep in agony,
To juxtapose people’s unfathomable expectations,
To serve as a reminder that we are something more than delicacy.

I never met the woman I was named after,
But she appears in every crack of my voice when I speak.
In order to actually get to the pearl, one must look past the messiness of an oyster,
Washing away layers of aching seasalt.
She would be delighted to hear how I don’t discard of the oyster,
How I go through life with messiness,
Telling you right here, right now, that my name is Maggie.

Maggie Kaprielian (she/her) is a seventeen-year-old from Maryland. She is an editor in chief for the Erewhon Literary Arts Magazine and president of Potomac’s chapter of the Maryland Teen Writers Association. She attended Susquehanna University's Summer Poetry Workshops in 2021 and 2022.