Asya Graf

Between countries,

cities to love,

lovers to call home,

beneath the gathering Texas clouds,

in endless neon corridors

of homeland security,

when will I feel myself

securely home?

Reentering this country without baggage

I am a too-light traveler for comfort.

State the purpose of your trip, its length,

intention, secret motives, true confessions.

What did you take? What did you leave behind?

The purpose of my trip was pleasure. I took:

my clothes and left five pounds,

my e-mail scrawled on napkins,

a fading self that’s climbing still the winding street

rising from Christ’s Blood up Temezcuitate

like the phantom at our school,

a thin lanky girl in a white shift,

asking others what they’re doing there.

I’m smuggling pictures of my other half,

the undeclared alien, my stranger self

who lives abroad and meets with me at last.

And look, a bundle of explosives—

love letters to foreign nationals and nations

who live still at my address

and cross your borders.

Our foreign selves

slip through your monitors

without a trace.

Asya Graf is an English teacher in the Bronx and a freelance writer. Her work appears in Vestal Review and other publications.

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