Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

More or Less American

BY EMARI DIGIORGIO

 

Riding the L
into Brooklyn
toeing the thin line
between friendly and
crazy — I tip
my chin toward
a man with
gray-green eyes
a voice as warm as
water beneath
the bridge
he says you’re
not from here
that choke of panic
every answer
wrong, but I say
from Jersey
and he says
That’s not
what I mean
this very moment or
crowded maternity ward
No, as in
America
I look for
hidden camera
someone with a mic
to slap my shoulder
what’s it like
to be profiled
or maybe he’s
reading my mind
a vodka ad with
lean models
high cheekbones,
flawless skin
I don’t know
what it is to be
this country, couldn’t
convince myself
give up its luxuries
so much bread
stale on shelves
unless
there’s a storm
the half-truth of
every sale, and where,
the tap’s clean
I ask where
are you from?
not here
he says, exiting
at Court Street
some midday sage
heading above
the bowels of NY
leaving me with
beat-boxing
break boy who swallows
bible verse before
unveiling a belch
veil of exhaustion     
questions
my head, this face
others wear
my mother’s tired eyes

 

 



Emari DiGiorgio is a recipient of two Vermont Studio Center Residencies, a Sundress Academy of the Arts Residency, a Rivendell Artist Colony Percy Writers Fellowship, and a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Poetry Fellowship. Her first manuscript The Things a Body Might Become is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in July 2017. She teaches writing at Stockton University and is a visiting Poet-in-the-Schools through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Dodge Foundation.