Three poems by Matt Schroeder

A Stranger, a Stray, a Wanderer
                                          The bus stops & police
                                          line up the migrants,
                                          backs against the wall.
Do not forget
you belong here
even less than them.
No matter how much culture
you learn to mirror outwards,
no matter how well you push
their beautiful sounds through
your teeth,
                              no matter who calls you family
                              & welcomes you openly,
                              no matter how comfortable
                              the country around you feels
                              when you lay down your head.
There is a reason you share
the same name as the strays,
there is a reason your passport
was taken away,
                                          there is a reason despite
                                          the eventuality of it all:
                                          you are a stranger,
                                          a stray, a wanderer.
Unseen Costs
Wake me up when
I can answer the door
without a fear of police
              where movement is free
              & crossing borders doesn’t
              consist of sweating profusely
              in freeze framed terror &
              hoping the guards are too lazy
              in the dog days of periscoping
              papers to see through my disguise
              of steady nerved stillness
                          I have been named
                         after the strays
                         the unwanted
                         & left to fend
                         for themselves
                         to be caught, fined,
                         or injured would skin me
                         of security, would find
                         me in gnarled streets
                         & stray dog fights,
              each day I become them,
              each day teeth borne, lip
              raised, low growl, thinner still
              as spring scrapes the horizon
wake me, brother,
when they’ve put out
food to feed the sag
of our bones, & we’ll fight
for a better tomorrow,
for a today without fear
Readied for Worse
I dreamt we were
in a state somewhere
between the evening
of freedom & darkness
of mourning
dreamt they came
for us
as the siege
began again
detained in whole &
readied for worse
they didn’t hide
in the hills
they came straight
to our door
& took me
from you
they must’ve
been there
because I was
& still am
a stranger
in your land
but darling
our nations
won’t let it
be easy
to love in a state
all our own
so if we
don’t get out
or wake up
for the better
know I searched for you
until the morning broke me
until your name was the only
thing left on my lips

Matt Schroeder is currently between countries, though his heart will always be in Bosnia and America. His poetry can also be found in Dovecote Magazine. When he is not working or writing, he enjoys collecting fruit from orchards and making friends with the other strays.