Imposter

city streets composed out of cardboard cutouts

by LISA C. TAYLOR

We sang Amazing Grace
to the walk light and fire hydrant.
Shadows of buildings inhaled exhaust
and I counted my remaining freedoms,
conjured gods,
while your fever rose.

Night is a thief, you said.

Streetlights beckoned
and we wandered
into a part of town
with shelter
for the healthy poor.
You handed the girl with a headscarf
your woolen coat.

The night after
you stopped breathing,
the moon was bloated
and incomplete.
Only a handful of stars showed up.

I spun into cities I didn’t know,
opened doors
to meet your sisters, uncles,
foreign friends, tentative and visible.

I called you the name you chose
as if you would answer
but your family
repeated a name you shed

like the coat you no longer needed
because you were warm enough

and that girl, the one
with the headscarf
was shivering.

— from Issue 5

LISA C. TAYLOR’s new fiction or poetry has been published in Crannog, Map Literary, Tahoma Literary Review, and WomenArts Quarterly Journal.

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