Featured Writer Claudia Serea

There are two kinds of people in the world:
the ones who leave and the ones who stay

Destiny by John William Waterhouse

It turns out I was of the former kind,
and I wonder if it was written
in the DNA I got from Mom
who left home at 14
and emigrated inside Romania.

I remember stuffing the white envelope
with fat forms and folding it
to the exact dimensions
of an American number 10 one,
paperwork strewn all over the floor.
Here I come, New York City, watch out, I laughed.

I didn’t tell my parents
until after I got the visa,
and now I wonder
if my daughter will do the same.

At 2 a.m., I hear
the constellations shuffling,
rotating immense gears.

Cassiopeia spins the radiant DNA
until it splits
and ribosomes back together,
and Andromeda unlocks the door,

and the Big Dipper sinks
into the heavens’ root cellar
and brings out, dripping gold and terror,
a shiny one-way ticket.


About the writer:
Claudia Serea’s poems have appeared in Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She has published five poetry collections, most recently TwoXism, a collaboration with photographer Maria Haro (8th House Publishing, 2018). Serea co-hosts The Williams Readings in Rutherford, NJ, and she is a founding editor of National Translation Month.

Image: Destiny by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). Oil on canvas. 27 x 21.4 inches. 1900. Public domain.