The Tourist


He spent his time with me like a tourist,

holding an itinerary I had no language for,

my heart a country over mined,

but on it he would search for a casino, 

some lights.

Not finding what he expected, 

he traded in fun for feeling,

though he’d lost that ability

long ago.


But I didn’t know, 

because he pretended

he needed something real,

but it was real like the sudden drop

of an amusement park ride,

the way your heart suddenly falls 

to your feet.

And the thrill for him would be the fear, 

lasting only for a moment,

and then he could leave,


drop his ticket stub on the ground,

his pattern of life the same,

nothing changed.


But I can’t leave the pain 

from the land of my life,

I am a citizen.

I can’t flee from my feelings

on a train.

I wasn’t raised to think

the world was made 

for me.


And I will never understand 

the way

he dropped coins 

so casually

in a cup,

when I sang 

my most difficult 


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