Literary Orphans

Alien / Explaining Death / Meditation
by Jolanta Davis


I have blue eyes and blond hair

You might say I’m a rather typical Caucasian

But the truth is


I’m an alien


The government says so


I’m an alien


By definition, I am:

– belonging to another country or people

– strange, not natural

– opposed or repugnant

– an outsider


And just to make sure I always remember that


I do not belong here


They gave me a small, laminated card

With big, bold “RESIDENT ALIEN” stretching across


I may

reside here


but I am


an alien


O Typekey Divider



“I don’t want you to die, mama!”


I knew that was coming


Our very old cat had died and she’s trying to understand




“Will you die too, mama?”


How in the world do I respond to that?


I’ll always live


in you


I gave you 50 percent of your genes


I gave you those dimples

those thin lips

and that rounded face


I’ll live


in your children if you have any


But other than that…


I know I will die


maybe fifty years from now

or maybe




I can’t tell you that though


instead I just smile and say


“Don’t worry honey. I’ll probably live to be very, very old, like two of your great-grandmothers who lived to be more than 90. And that’s a looong time from now. Would you like to have some ice cream?”


O Typekey Divider



Take a deep breath in

Then let it all out


A hundred people in the room

attempt to concentrate


on breathing


for the whole ten minutes!





My body seems to sway slightly left and right

It’s actually somewhat calming





Maybe there’s something to it

I should try it again sometime





Shit! I forgot to pick up the meds!





I wonder what the girl on my left is thinking about?


How many minutes has it been already?





Are all of us keeping our eyes closed

and he’s just watching us

with a smirk?




A chime

lets us know we can open our eyes now



to get to more serious business


After all,

can’t we leave the breathing to our body?


It’s managed it just fine until now


And our conscious selves


to focus

on more serious matters


like paying the bills,

and buying bread for tomorrow




Just a bunch of baloney!


O Typekey Divider

Jolanta M. Davis always hesitates what to say when asked “Where are you from?” while traveling, because if she answers “Massachusetts,” assuming that people just want to know where she currently lives, then she sometimes hears “Is that where you grew up? You sound slightly foreign.” That’s why she has learned to say “Grew up in Warsaw, Poland, currently living in a small town in Massachusetts.” And despite what you may think, she actually likes meditating, if she can find time for it.


O Typekey Divider

–Art by Sagi Kortler

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