Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

More or Less American



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
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
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
break boy who swallows
bible verse before
unveiling a belch
veil of exhaustion     
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.