Skaidrite Stelzer

new order


in the refugee camp

I teach myself the language of fear

what the adults won’t mention

I can dream

a monster within the piano

the hidden keys

the chest that Bluebeard keeps

the bodies of murdered wives

I won’t be next

although I don’t want to look

into a bleak future

these things repeat

the broken music box

the spinning pink ballerina

dance, dance

they say as they whip her

she does

the world spins faster every year

and the protests multiply

along with the atrocities

as students arrive from suburbs

never wishing this

wrapped in Disney blankets

they think they will be the new apprentice

the one who will win a life

bleached of all guilt

and the ones who should have learned wisdom

invent zombies

half alive

and craving your memories

held now for only seconds

on Snapchat

everything can be erased

I will open the box

that holds bones

the shape of the human


Skaidrite Stelzer lives and writes in Toledo, Ohio.  Growing up as a post-war refugee and displaced person, she feels connected to the world and other stray planets.  Her poetry has been published in Fourth River, Eclipse, Glass, Baltimore Review, and many other literary journals.