I climb the stairs

that barricade the realms

Between us and them.


The light does not work,

and despite the sun's oppressive beating beyond the walls

I am hugged by the musty dark nothingness

that recognizes me as one of its own.


The innkeeper who greets me,

shows me where the tea is,

where I can shower,

and provides a laminated sheet of rules and tips,

one of which unwittingly 

counts me among the criminal.


Beware of pickpockets and Gypsies-

Words etched next to my host's favorite sandwich shop

subtle memoriam that reminds me

I am Outlandish,

even among the bustling American tourists

who are Sunburnt and armed with fanny packs,

a coagulum that forms a serpent beast through

the narrow streets of an unwelcoming city

snaking its way through stomped down relics 

and chocolatiers,

into the heart of the bright, 

buzzing void. 





You pressed your palm towards me,

a force of white air smacking my face

in an exasperated sigh

which dares to whisper a name I cannot seem to shed

even in my most desperate metamorphosis


The lines of your palm 

read like a mass grave

red as the blood conjured by firing-squad sorcerers 

the soft sloping of arches that mimic

mountain peaks filled with blue ghosts-

My lost Moravia.


My own palm is seared

with a manuscript palimpsest-

the lost language etched in granite that weighs down 

fingers that ache and arch

to the will of history 

unwittingly wrapping around my throat.


This is women's work.

still as Caravaggio 

my own buona ventura 

left vulnerable to theft when I search

for utopia in the white-hot hands of a stranger. 


Sydnee Wagner is a closet poet and a PhD student at The Graduate Center, CUNY, studying early modern English literature. Though seemingly busied by her research and writing, she still manages to find time to drink copious amounts of coffee and seek out fragments of nature in New York City. Sydnee’s poetry serves as a platform for her to explore her relationship with her mother and father, mixed race and Roma identity, and other things that take shape in the dark.