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Hilary Sideris


Mom’s still a sucker for Christmas.

She counts on it, and us, to disappoint.

It’s February in Florida. The polyvinyl tree

abides. Her friend Frances, too frail to fly,

FaceTimes to see these ornaments—rubber

Maine lobster, ceramic Empire State, blown

glass Starry Night. Each year the baby Jesus

gives her strength to decorate. She loves

babies. My sister & I, down from different states,

have Leaving on a Jet Plane in our heads

although we hate the song & all the questions

it raises, the ones we asked at seven & nine,

respectively, worriers that we were: Why

doesn’t John Denver know when he’ll be back?

Why will he wear her ring, not bring it

in a fancy box? I’ve never told you this,

she prefaces Dad’s possible gayness,

which would explain the choice of white

for his casket, a theory we’ve heard since

we were old enough to be her audience.

Chrysostomos Kalafatis

Ford’s Model T, made with vanadium,

a strong, lightweight alloy, cost no more

than a horse. On September 10th, 1922, a mob

lynched Smyrna’s metropolitan, gouged out his eyes,

made him a saint. His name drops s when an accusative

object. Roads paved in asphalt led to more Fords,

Studebakers, Cadillacs, an endless craving for petroleum

from the Near East. For weeks the polyglot,

medieval streets filled up with village Greeks, farmers

who’d walked for days. Was one my grandfather,

his face caked white with dust from roads far north?

Mothers nursed infants on the quay in Islam’s City

of Tolerance. Standard Oil men drank Munich

Pilsen, banned back home, ate blanquette

de veau, bet on a peaceful siege.


You’re going now? What do we need? Pillows, placemats, sheets? Plant pots with holes that drain onto a plate? The bathroom shelf collapsed, an Island Blue nail polish bottle cracked our now-turquoise-striped sink. I wouldn’t mind brushed nickel knobs. Vicky Moscholiou sings in Greek on my laptop: Our love has no measure, we are two drops from the same faucet, according to Spotify. I scroll past pop-up ads for vanities, pedestals, Carrara marble, woodgrain-pattern porcelain. We’re not—we never were—drops from the same faucet. Is that why we hate IKEA? I’m losing you, I feel you switching to Italian. Bravo of you to go alone. Buy what you can. Aside from Abba, I trust your taste.


Hilary Sideris’s poems have appeared recently in Alabama Literary Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Lake, OneArt, Poetry Daily, and Right Hand Pointing. She is the author of Un Amore Veloce (Kelsay Books, 2019), The Silent B (Dos Madres Press, 2019), Animals in English, poems after Temple Grandin (Dos Madres Press, 2020), and Liberty Laundry (Dos Madres Press, 2022.) She grew up in Indiana and lives in Brooklyn, where she works as a professional developer for CUNY Start, a program for underserved, limited-income students at The City University of New York.


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