You’re in 6A. I’m in 6B.
We make trash-chute small talk.
I know by how you pronounce
chute like soot you must be
Greek, keep my mouth shut.
My mother discovered philo
sheets at Spiro’s in downtown
Des Moines. Agnew resigned.
If I wanted baklava, Dad said,
I wouldn’t have married you,
using the past conditional
to capture the impossible.
Nixon turned over his tax returns.
Ford pardoned him. His lawyers
went to jail. One spring she baked
Greek Easter bread, tsoureki,
three sweet braids that signify
the Trinity, never again.
Since Dad died I’ve felt this need
to ethnically identify. I want to ask
how you got here. I came as a Nanny
from Iowa, lived in a limestone
Upper East Side mansion
with two British HBO execs
who wanted an American
for their newborn, Christian.
You burn church incense
when you smoke, but I don’t care.
Likewise, I hope you don’t abhor
Sotiria Bellou belting from
my laptop, I want your cheek
for my pillow.
They elicit reflection on cycles of rebirth, renewal, or resurrection, owing to their mysterious emergence, in radically altered bodily form, from a tomb-like chrysalis.
Imported, tropical milkweed
hosts petaloudes, flying flowers,
psyches in Ancient Greek,
named after William, Prince
of Orange. Its long bloom time
means females stay, lay
surplus eggs, and don’t embark
on their iconic, pollinating odyssey.
Monsanto makes amends, plants
non-native species. When they are
gone and monarch means again
only an inbred king, spots will emerge
on the clear paper of my hands,
souls flutter by like floaters
as I wait for sleep, see the red
field inside my lids.
Hilary Sideris’s poems have appeared recently in Anti-Heroin Chic, Right Hand Pointing, Southern Poetry Review, and The Westchester Review. She is the author of Un Amore Veloce (Kelsay Books 2019), The Silent B (Dos Madres Press 2019), Animals in English (Dos Madres Press 2020), and Liberty Laundry (Dos Madres Press 2022.) Sideris lives in Brooklyn and works as a professional developer for CUNY Start, a program for underserved, limited income students at The City University of New York.