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we wear maps on our heads

tight braids coiled into isles and continents

against our scalps, birthmarks and scars

marking city blocks like melanistic push pins.


here, in that spot behind your ear

is the French café on Amsterdam Avenue

where we had polished silver and fresh cream

linen and gilded menus too big for our hands.


there, in the line of my scalp above my nape

are the streets in SoHo where we chased the sun

down cobblestone mazes and around brick parapets

burning cold orange in the January gloaming.


the lights of Times Square are stars on our faces

gold and silver freckles burning five-pointed holes

into the bone beneath. they brand us saying “you are mine

and you’ll never be happy anywhere else.”

Mayra Paris is a writer and artist from San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is her first publication. The rest of her life is forthcoming. She tweets at @gloriamundii.
Current Issue
4 Dec 2023

“Ask me something only I would know.” You say this to your wife because you know you’re human. You can feel it in the familiar ache in your back, and the fear writhing in your guts. You feel it in the cold seeping into your bare feet from the kitchen floor. You know you’re real because you remember.
now, there is the shape...humanoid, but not / necessarily human
He came from a salt mine that used to be solid all the way through
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