On Seeing My Last Name

the landlady asks if I’m Slavic 
and I say yes, at least 
the last name is. And she says 
Slavic women are the best—
at what exactly, I can only guess. 
But I’m not really. Slavic, I mean. 
It was my grandfather’s name, my father’s 
father, and he died when I was six. 
He was Latvian, rural born, fought 
in the war, went to England first, 
and came to Canada for the land. 
Mostly, I recall 
that he would walk his fingers 
across the kitchen table 
to make me laugh when I was small. 
The landlady hands me the keys 
with a secretive smile and a wink 
as though we’re inextricably linked 
by some murky trail of shared history. 
I smile back, even as I realize how little I know 
of the intricacies of this past—
just a vague point on a map, 
a few handpicked details 
and this, 
the passing down of names.