Three Poems

by Hilary Sideris

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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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