by Sydnee Wagner

I climb the stairs
that barricade the realms
Between us and them.

The light does not work,
and despite the sun's oppressive beating beyond the walls
I am hugged by the musty dark nothingness
that recognizes me as one of its own.

The innkeeper who greets me,
shows me where the tea is,
where I can shower,
and provides a laminated sheet of rules and tips,
one of which unwittingly
counts me among the criminals.

Beware of pickpockets and Gypsies-
Words etched next to my host's favorite sandwich shop
subtle memoriam that reminds me
I am Outlandish,
even among the bustling American tourists
who are Sunburnt and armed with fanny packs.
A coagulum forms a serpent beast through
the narrow streets of a city that does not WELCOME me
snaking its way through stomped down relics
and chocolatiers.
into the heart of a bright,
buzzing void.

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