HOSPITALITY 

You do not understand
the whispers of this waking town,
though you have always lived here,
beneath its mechanical hum
and away from the light of its nightly stars
that flicker away by morning
as if ashamed (as you are)
to be seen by the sun.

Nevertheless:

you long for this sleeping town
who does not understand you
and cries out in its slumber
at the rumor of your being:
you, dredged up from the riverbed—
you, waterlogged inside—
your voice, never used before,
imitating speech in a dream.

In the terror of wakefulness,
you have been a wretched thing,
mismatched and discarded;
no more than a missive
crumbling into dark water,
drawn upon the sandbar with a fingertip
and erased piece by piece
each morning by the tide.

But you have grown restless
and learned to bear yourself upright,
rejecting your primordial cradle
to venture past slick stones and sand,
out into a world so dry and bright
it seems to twist around you as you move,
sleeping, waking, living,
drawn close and concave with a breath.

You have come here, to the living town,
to stand between its stark white lines
where the colored stars wink at one another,
as if directing traffic,
and give voice to your favorite word—
the one you have learned from the sign
overlooking the place you were born,
and which you hope to call yourself:

WELCOME.


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GIA GRIMOIRE is a writer, Mediterranean classicist, and interactive fiction creator from upstate New York. She is passionate about archaeology and the uncanny, and can be found on Twitter at @RicassoFiction.