Thursday, August 8, 2013


There is a curious camaraderie of conferences,
Coffee, cake, conversation--
Colombian, Danish, Deutsche.

I hate when someone comments
on the rich diversity of an event.
I know they can count their diversity
on the fingers of one hand.
I am always one of those fingers.

In the kitchen of a shared hotel suite,
We sit over coffee and eggs
Taking about our parents, our boyfriends, our kids - real or imagined.
We are three shades of brown
With three mother tongues
From three different continents
Bound together on a fourth
by circumstance, laughter, and concern over how our talks were received.
We are the X-Y diversity of this meeting.
Together, we make half a hand.

I hold up three fingers.
I flip them upside down.
We or Me.
It is a subtle change.
It is a phenomenal shift.


I am exotic, by color and culture --
Always passing, a hair's breadth from belonging.
Twice exiled, I spend afternoons on the balcony with nomads.
The Iranian pontificates on the duties of political exiles to their home countries.
Should he go back? Should my grandfather have left?
The Lebanese discusses the dominion of depression on a thesis,
And the anxiety of an arranged marriage.
The Romanian speaks to me in Spanish -- allowing me to answer in English.
Like me, he has no identification barring his passport.

I have lost my country.
I have put aside my child.
This is all the community I have left.
It is a strange solace for my solitude.

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