Nostra. Our. We. I think about that word sometimes. Dante doing Borges and I. Borges doing Dante and I. Joyce does Shem the Penman and I in Finnegans Wake (but every honest to goodness man in the land of the space of today knows that his back life will not stand being written about in black and white) and whatever other colors you got. Veronica Maria Robertson Gonzales de Reyes. Changed it to Veronica Tonkin. Most people call me Vern. But Veronica Maria Robertson Gonzales de Reyes was what it was until we moved to the States and people don’t have so many names here. I didn’t have this name at the start, understand, they didn’t have my name picked out right away. And as an aside which might be somehow related to the acquisition of my name, my parents referred to the day I was born as the night my dad killed the general. I’ve asked. More than once. I got side stories and whatever else I could get when they’d switch over to Castellano. With a little symmetry under the cemetery wall I was born at 14:14 pm, so whatever else went down happened later that night. There was some catastrophe going on in that I was supposed to be a boy so they never imagined a girl name. Didn’t think one up. But worse than having no name, they had no earrings. There I am a girl and no earrings. So you can imagine. It must have been chaos. There was never any doubt they were getting a boy; the opposite possibility never crossed their minds. This was before finding out early, you understand. I was supposed to be a boy because that is how it was supposed to be. But, besides the complication of no penis so no earrings and no name. There was, remember, the matter of the possible slaying of some sort of general at the hands of my father. My uncle was a general. But he survived my birth. And I don’t know if he was a general yet. He commanded the Peruvian army at some point. War with Ecuador. Cars with armed escorts. This was all long before he went to America with his cancer dying in what was that hospital? East coast somewhere. My mother didn’t go. But the night after the afternoon on the day I was born, my father killed the general. And I didn’t have a name. I don’t know for how long, it was a blank period. Not a lot of time passed, I’m guessing, but try telling that to a newborn. Even two hours is everything. All there is and was and has been and none of those things matter. What is there of time at the start? At that moment of the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, what is it like? I forget. So I didn’t have a name for I’m now guessing a long time. They wanted names that were spelled the same in Castellano and in English. My sister already had one. Virginia Maria. Virgin Mary if you really want to translate; try living up to that one, girls. She did what she could. Me? Why Veronica? My uncle the general who survived the day of my birth had a thing for Veronica Lake. You know the one, silver screen blonde hair covering one eye. Sexy. Ended up an alcoholic prostitute, and lost it a bit upstairs toward the end. Imagine a spectrum starting with the Virgin Mary to no end point. I did what we could. Me. Vern and I. That’s me in the picture writing us.