“From My Room Upstairs” by Sydney Mantay

my flushed cheeks 


from hot red

resting on the wood floors. 


My daddy hand laid them. 

The mahogany grain layered with purple heart, 

worn down and smoothed by my bare feet. 

Scratches from practice in high heel shoes

water marks from misplaced pool towels 

now hidden, 

with luggage and storage boxes. 


I lay on the floor, 

eavesdropping from above 

to hear how their late night conversations have changed. 


They talk about money, dreams 

and worries. 

Never enough money,

too many dreams 

and their worry for me. 


The familiar words put me at ease.


“Beloved Sister”

Her dirty finger drags a dry tear

from eye to cheek 

“Don’t leave me” she begs. 


she hangs onto my ribs. 


She has had to leave 

and be left 

more times than not.


“Habibti,” I say through guilt rid lips 

kissing her uncovered baby hairs. 

My tears make red mud 

from the dust on my skin. 


I can hear her mother’s words

on her behalf,

“My sister, I love you!

Come back!”

But I can’t remember 

her name. 


Biographical Note: Sydney Mantay is a second generation Argentinian writer based in South Florida. Sydney’s heritage fuels her writing and desire for adventure. She has traveled to the Middle East where she worked with Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni Refugees. She continues to engage with the local Refugee community in South Florida.