At some latitudes they say night is curiously indistinguishable from day

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2016

In Europe that summer, tourist
shops awash with midriff-baring
Britney Spears tops, painted

scandal matryoshkas of Bill
and Monica, Paula and Gennifer
and Hillary, ending with a cigar.

But at the grocery store,
no one made eye contact or bagged
my few purchases: three bananas,

two cups of yogurt, a small carton
of juice. Later, someone explained:
They must have thought you

were Chechnyan. It hadn’t
occurred to me. I mused on this
passing through streets lettered

in Cyrillic, emerging from the shadow
of a cathedral. Even the grandmothers
shuffling along, clutching their string

bags with arthritic fingers— they
didn’t see me. How could they not
know about my kind of dark?

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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