by Vala Schriefer

American in Metamorphosis

I have yet to see my French breath
emerge from my chapped lips
on a cold Rennes morning.
I have yet to feel
the pulse of my temporal lobe
alternate to a steady French beat.
I cannot see the eyes
of someone who can waltz with
La Tristesse
or sing faithfully
of this country.
I have yet to see
French hands reach to turn on the light
in the early morning
and to hear a groan
because it is Monday in France.

Delusion of an Expat

I keep dreaming of
cold soda bottles sweating on leather seats
and beaten up backpacks
and cigarettes on the side of the road.
I keep dreaming of America
and my journey to find it
and I know, here in France,
I remember it better than it is,
a common naïve nostalgia.
But I can’t help it.
I see roads
and impossibly boring fonts
on impossibly boring signs
and hypnotizing rows of pathetic shrubbery,
and rows of fattened cows,
and rows of senators.
I see it all from here,
it is glorious.
And although I am not homesick
the road belongs under my feet,
and although I am not thirsty,
toss me a soda.


Chopping into sections of my day
to see why
my back always hurts by noon, why
French still sounds like gargling and not like poetry, why
my head sits in cool Nordic waters in august,
instead of obediently within my skull,
in Rennes, France.
Chopping to tiny pieces
my day
and finding nothing,
merely a pile of crushed concrete,
American concrete,
consciousness in a powder.
I’ll have to clean up later.