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
into the heart of the bright,
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.