To the Cities I Have Only Visited on Layover

I have not seen
the parts you save
for your more devoted guests.
But you showed me
your concrete slab of a back-end,

and trusted me

with your hurried outskirts.

I have not spent more
than a fraction of a day
on the fringe of you, 

but I have caught 

your newborn sunrise

in the corner of my eye. 


I had only a few spare hours

tucked into my suitcase, 

but I spent them all at a window
watching you dress yourself,

and press yourself
into a skyline that could impress
while I lingered
among your cast-off motels.

I have seen
the red-eyed wanderers
that you spit across borders

with tumbleweed hair
and not enough toothpaste
in their carry-on.
We carry on 

like old friends
for the length of a gate’s line,

until I am watching you shrink beneath me

into matchbox cars
and patchwork squares of grass.

I tell myself you cities all look the same
from the upside of the clouds.
I tell myself there’s no point
in wandering my way through you now. 

Like how kissing someone
who has read all your poems
would only be redundant.

But we both know
in the deep of us
how I long
to spread your sky over me

to press my feet against
the soft of your streets.

And what else is there to say

now that I’ve stopped lying 

to the both of us?

What else is there to do,

but watch you shrink beneath me,

and wash across my window
in waves of unmet scraps of land,

all flowing into a wistful farewell?

by MorganNikolaWren

Morgan Nikola-Wren is a winner of the Pangaea Worldwide Poetry Slam, 2016, and a Push Cart 2020 nominee. Her debut book, Magic with Skin On, received a Goodreads Choice nomination for Best Poetry Book of 2017 and was listed in Barnes and Noble's "25 Must-Reads for National Poetry Month." Her poetry was recently featured in Amanda Lovelace's best-seller, "The Mermaid's Voice Returns in This One."

Morgan ran away with her husband's circus for a year, but now works at a school library, which is not all that different. She is perpetually searching for new favorite words, more black clothing, and the perfect design for her next tattoo.

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