i check in to my suitcase-hostel

find home in overflowing pockets and zippers that won’t close

every stony street sings lullabies to my tired luggage

heart beat thuds and wheels that ache

i find home in airport-limbo and goodbyes that still linger as i write this

i find closure where i can and mourn the abrupt, unfinished

pages don’t always turn lightly

this must be the honeymoon phase, i think

this can not last forever, i think

because black velvet skies and crescents wash over me

as south american skylines stretch out between valleys and my heartstrings

i waft at firefly street lights

and unapologetic curves to mountains and the roads carved into their skin

‘different’ has never looked so beautiful

i am exactly where i should be, i think

sickly sweet postcard views stamped with besos and altitude sickness 

i find myself on mountaintops, braving empty lungs that show no mercy

i swallow fickle air and while it burns

i romanticize the fact that i am literally breathless

i mistake my dizziness for infatuation

light-headed love

i find pride in clumsy spanish that leaves my tongue like an apology

disbelief in clouds i can touch

and do touch 

stories that touch me

half-awake on nervous bus rides, i find romance in street graffiti

“there are so many people in this world who could ruin me with love”

people who give me nicknames and hands to hold 

a taste of their ‘colada morada’ 

and belly-aching laughter

people like my host mum in quito

who calls me leandrita 

as if no name has ever felt more familiar

people who only know me with short hair and the newest scar on my leg

people who wake up as i dream of the distance between us

i am exactly where i should be, i think?

people whose accents sit comfortably between my lips, whose words escape my mouth

¿Cómo se dice “we belong”?

luis tells us to explore the mercado together

the gringas dodge skewered pigs and fruit pyramids to a soundtrack of their classical guitar

on the second floor, they smell raw fish and i smell nostalgia

i find home in the uncomfortable and feel uncomfortable anyway

not every moment is happy

but every moment is beautiful

in every moment, i feel i feel i feel i feel

this must be the honeymoon phase, i think

i hope it will last forever, i think