Three Poems

by Hilary Sideris


To My Older Brother

Even in the Rust Belt

children learn in school

to use their words, not hit.

Mom gave us treats for being

quiet. Like his Greek dad,

Dad beat. You offered me

a Marlboro to lie down on

the freight tracks at Skelgas

& Uniroyal. I caked makeup

on my black eye. Remember

how we mocked the Chinese

candy store cashier, who asked,

when we said Juicy Fruit

or Double Mint, “What color?”

On the Morning of the Departmental

Staff Development in Times Square

Though rain was not

predicted until evening,

it poured: a forest green

Duane Reade umbrella,

fourteen dollars on my

debit card. I barely

balked. The cashier

sucked her teeth,

“I know, where you

live it cost five.”

Going Down

I smiled at a couple

deep in luggage, taped-up

boxes, Hefty bags, said hi

as I pressed B. She turned to him

& said “creepy,” after I small

talked, “You’ve got a lot of stuff!,”

maybe a mom-like “Wow,”

I can’t recall…& when I wake

sweaty from dreams

of Trump, I hear her still.

Hilary Sideris has recently appeared in Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Connecticut Review, and Confrontation, among others. She is the author of several chapbooks and two full-length poetry collections, Most Likely to Die (Poets Wear Prada 2014) and The Inclination to Make Waves (Big Wonderful 2016). She lives in Brooklyn and works for The City University of New York, where she develops curriculum and trains teachers for CUNY Start, an innovative alternative to remedial courses for first-generation college students. She has a B.A. in English literature from Indiana University and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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