It’s so much work to stay alive

but living has its payoffs

sunset so stunning it burns your eyes

mathematical precision in a seashell

an unexpected kind word

in a foreign city

not that any of these will fix

the human condition

after all there’s a graveyard

beneath everything

but such small grace notes

can lighten the load


Like when you teared up

kissing that girl good-bye

in the Yugoslav train station

all those years ago and the men

nearby wiped their eyes as well

and patted your shoulder

in solidarity—no matter

you shared no language

no lived experience, you

a U.S. vagabond surrounded

by Slovenian workers


The station was shabby, squalid

yet the memory of their kindness

lifts your spirits still



Sally Zakariya

Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 75 print and online journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is Muslim Wife (Blue Lyra Press, 2019). She is also the author of The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table. Zakariya blogs at

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