an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century


John Popielaski


“There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.”
–W.H. Auden, “September 1, 1939”

The Greek word xenia means hospitality,
a code of welcoming the foreigner,
the person of another strain, another
homeland, into circumstances
that acknowledge similarity
in terms of wanting
to lave the grime of travel from our skin,
in terms of wanting in our stomachs
what replenishment the host can spare
and in our souls what company,
in terms of wanting to be on our way
with good directions in the light of day
and with the touch of parting.

Xenia also means the flow of pollen
from a plant strain to the tissue of another
plant strain’s embryonic seed, no fear
of variation or hybridity,
no mechanism to prohibit
contact with the others.

Born and raised in Port Jefferson Station, JOHN POPIELASKI is a graduate of Stony Brook University and American University. He is the author of a novel, The Hollow Middle, as well as several poetry collections. His poems have appeared in such journals as The Hollins Critic, Post Road, and Roanoke Review.