An American Expat Talks to A Sleeping Lover
This morning before I knew you were going I breathed in your hair and 
thought of straw-flakes falling from hay. I thought of building a house with 
my father and pressing my palms into wet concrete full of rocks. 

I lived on a farm. Cherry tomatoes hung fat and the snowpeas rattled 
the fences while baby crayfish cried in the rain. We had two thick cows that dined on 
green fields timed to sunset. When I see you, I feel the southwest. I remember that 
A-mer-i-ca can still make me smell embers. 

But here's another place. Europe is a heavy world, with heavy histories. I 
am weary of gilded ceilings and frescoed blossoms. Such luxuries are not 
afforded me because 

My monuments are of a different kind. Mine are formed of soil and sweat 
and growing things. Mine are contained in the palms of a child possessed 
with angel hair like yours. I understand you will leave upon waking. You 
are not saved for me, like most things.

It is only some mornings I am reminded of home and of berries that shiver 
in the breeze. Most days I lose myself in bitter wine and marble veins. 
Most days I wander streets soldiers have conquered and think about our 
strange human history and ask myself : why, and how, and when - to what end? 

My heart is a thin, black thread. My veins are a fish lines made of silk. Once, 
something warm and glowing rested in me, but my body has forgotten how to take 
in sun. Now I am molded like gold-leafed porcelain. 
Now, my palms would surely shatter in concrete.

MARCELLA ALVAREZ' fiction has been featured in Weave Magazine, nonfiction in Strike magazine as well as her writing about strategic nonviolence which include the book Making Oppression Backfire and a chapter in the text Understanding Nonviolence. She has lived in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, two unique regions that she draws on for literary inspiration. She is currently pursuing her degree in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University. 
The Adirondack Review