Paige Elizabeth Wajda
September 2021
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Paige Elizabeth Wajda is from California and a member of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She spent four years teaching English in Poland before earning a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh. Her work has recently appeared in Pulp Lit, Eye to the Telescope, and Hit Points: An Anthology of Video Game Poetry. She works in a library, and thus hears many puns of her name.

all blue dark


there's a slow realization crawling up my bare leg and it is this:

I am already buried by hungry sand.


I circle around the sandswept parking lot,

making sure the Toyota hasn't been towed. 

a guy watches me from his balcony, and embarrassed,

I slink up to my baking apartment, cicadas clattering.

the sky is indigo paint, a watercolor only aliens could dream of.

there's a lighthouse somewhere along the shore and a big swallowing ocean

and I am already under it.


across the Atlantic only just too salty to freeze,

lies the continent where I already roam.

I dream of the cold, bugs frozen over, flies fallen out of star-suspension,

the incredible force that turns breath to clouds.


I dream of the old belief that fire was a miracle, bestowed to humans by a mistake of the gods.


I crave to move, to follow the seasons; all through my system, I yearn for Europe.

I am already buried and there's no risk of freezing to death.

the dollars sleep together in my account for warmth.

take me to winter. I want to breathe into its face.


take me to the blue dark of cities I chant

in the moments before sleep.

Helsinki. Wroclaw. St. Petersburg. Budapest. Glasgow. Zurich.

already the ice drips down the castle walls.

I’ve never seen an icicle. I can barely spell it.

I imagine that I take one and break it open with my teeth,

marvel at its sharpness.



All of them and their crimes, then there’s Hestia, sitting by the damn fireplace,

steam rising from her mug, the one Ares brought that says “I went to Troy and all I got 

was this crappy mug.” No misadventures, no bastard children. 


The short straw. Someone had to keep the fire going. After guiding

everyone’s chariots to the driveway, she listens to the stories, inside jokes,

proofreads the emails, fixes the printer.


In her own private cinema, she heats up the ambrosia in the microwave.

I used to think of her as cursed, damned to house arrest forever. 

We were liberated long ago, Hest, come out and party!


Now she is my patron saint, quarantine goddess. She bestows upon me

a sourdough starter, sends Hermes to the door with edibles.

You were having a fine time all along, bitch, why didn’t you tell us?


It’s those that fly out of Olympus, essential, dodging lightning bolts,

that envy you, their hands cold, gazing back at the orange glint in the heavens, 

daydreaming of propping up their feet, sinking into a cloud.