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What are you doing in Warsaw this morning

Did you walk into the grey sky

Pulling headfirst down the six floors

And burst out of the heavy cedar doors

Looking left and right

Or did you know where you wanted to go—to the lady

Who sells flowers from a cart

And books in French and Czech

Did you look in case there was one in English

That you couldn’t leave behind somehow

Or did you not leave your apartment at all

Staring at the yellow walls or out

Across the courtyard at the woman

Who waters her plants while listening to headphones

Did she lift her head and smile and say hello and

Did you walk around to the other side to go in

For a cup of coffee if not today then yesterday

Or tomorrow or the day after it must happen

Because I know when you’re alone in a new city and you’re looking

People see the fragile threads coming out of every pore

The sweet and mossy smell of how lonely you are

I am always alone in cities but it’s okay to be alone

With a city to love a city like a person

To go down old streets, old houses, to hurt,

Phantom sugary cashews and phantom faces

Or the sound of the sirens screaming please

Then silence again like a mother thinking of faraway bits

I wonder why I think of you so much

When I never loved you maybe what I love is

A dark drawer, maybe unused you’re better like that,

A necklace I can take to the grave, turn in my fingers

When I’m restless the second I wake up.



Christine Kwon is the author of A Ribbon the Most Perfect Blue (Southeast Missouri State University Press), which won the Cowles Poetry Book Prize and debuts in March 2023. Her poems are forthcoming in Copper NickelThe Harvard AdvocateThe Tusculum Review and The Xavier Review. She lives in New Orleans, where she serves as literary editor of Tilted House. Find her work on or follow her on Instagram @theschooloflonging.

ISSN 2632-4423

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