My Northern skin cannot wear
this tropical complicity. Give me
a hundred names for snow,
Wagner,
Give me all the guilt
I never owned.

My sweat smells like Dachau,
even under Caribbean blooms, even
after I have thumbed it red. I wear
other cultures because mine is

colorless, consisting primarily of
beer and genocide. Our cheeses
smell as bad as their names, our
language sharper than our chins, our
perversions as precise as our
well-tempered keyboards.

Yet I am erbkranken,
mongrel and the worst of
many worlds. I am
Lebensunwertes Leben,
a cautionary neurotale under
fairy godmother hair.

My double-jeopardy skin won’t tan,
whites out all fresh starts, my
DNA guilty until proven guilty
again
and again
and again.

Laura Saint Martin writes poetry and fiction. She is currently working on a mystery series set in the San Gabriel mountains of Southern California. Laura enjoys word play and taking liberties with her native English language. She lives in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham

Editor at NY Literary Magazine
Amanda holds an M.A. in History. She loves well-written poetry and romance novels. Amanda has 2 cats and a 3-year-old son.
Amanda Graham