Before he died, the poet Mark Strand said to me, “Blat? What kind of a name is that for a writer?”

The origin of the word blat is the Yiddish blatt, meaning a sheet of paper, or the petal of a flower.

Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea, derived from the Latin blatta, an insect that shuns the light.

When I was days old, tiny white insects appeared on my eyelashes. My mother picked each one off individually. 

I am a survivor, Madonna once said. I am like a cockroach, you just can't get rid of me.

Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal.

I was named by my father’s mother but have never met her.

In the mid 80s, Russian musician Vladimir Kuzmin wrote a song called “Simona.”

She is goddess among the poets

She plays tennis and basketball

She listens to Bach and rock n roll

A name can begin to stand for something else the moment it leaves your lips.

In Russian, you use blat as a verb to refer to “getting hooked up.”

As in: Did Mary get you into that nightclub? Yes, Mary hooked it up.

In English, blat means “a bleating sound” like that from a sheep.

As in: when I offered her my hand, she blatted like a fawn, and ran away.

My mother calls me Seraphima when I anger her.

Seraphima Blonskaya was a Russian artist famous for her painting called "Girls, Palm Sunday" where several girls dressed in white are holding large palm branches and small yellow lights.

There is a portrait of Seraphima by Dmitri Sinodi-Popov where she is in profile, slouched over the back of a chair, and her arms are locked under her chin. Her right fist is tightly gripping a piece of crushed paper. Her gaze is out of the frame but her brow is furrowed. In all senses, she looks pissed, though they say she is serious and simple.

The biblical word seraphim means fiery ones.

The seraphim were an order of angels described by Isaiah as having six wings each, making them the most powerful.

Someone I recently met said it helps to remember someone’s name by repeating it while looking directly in their eyes.

I’ve kissed someone with six names.

Does it really matter what you are called?

Do sounds have meaning beyond memory?

I dislike the name Simon, though it is only one letter short of my first name, which is the Italian female form. Without the “a” it is a name that feels stale.

To learn a language is to learn a set of rules, wrote Lacan.

When we first met, I didn't remember your name.

I admire men with feminine names and women with masculine names.

When we name a thing, the thing slips.

I have met three other women named Simona. One was blonde, one brunette, the third Italian. They were all imposters. Since it happens rarely for me, I go about life thinking that I am the only Simona in the world.

I want to follow a stranger around and guess their name by watching them. If you said your name out loud but I couldn't hear, could I still understand it?

Does my name look like me?

The meaning of a word is its use in the language. And the meaning of a name is sometimes explained by pointing to its bearer, wrote Wittgenstein.

In Russian, if you put an accent on the “a” the word blat means bitch.

Marina Tsvetaeva wrote: To name [call/speak]—is to take apart: to separate self from thing. I don’t name anyone—ever.