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Heaps of Home (for Berlin)

Combat boots trample gritty sidewalk weeds

Lilacs bloom against monuments and walls

Legs brush leaves brush glass brush stone

We live amid heaps of ancient and modern

Encounter sideways stares and tough guy glares

Where Preservation and Ruin push and pull

Our mother tongue mixes with others on the train

Headscarves next to headphones next to yarmulkes

Groceries and long coats and prams sway and move

It’s a city that calls to immigrants, transients

Welcome foreigner, we are instantly one

We were shocked to learn home can be so free

We hit the streets, learn to protest to a beat

We dance and scream and make love

We fight for each other even without having met

And rest at clubs in spas in parks

Lay in the grass watching ravens swoop

A sea of green and blue surrounded by stone

We are the city that breathes, beats

We never give up or give in

It’s a war, but we’re at peace

by Veronica Zora Kirin

Veronica Zora Kirin is a queer Croatian/American writer currently living in Berlin. She is the author of “Stories of Elders,” documenting the high-tech revolution as lived by the Greatest Generation, which received the National Indie Excellence Award and was a finalist for the International Book Award. Her short stories, poetry, and essays have been published in the New Feather Anthology, Unburied Anthology, Scare Street, Scars, and elsewhere. She is currently working on her debut novel. Read more at

Berlin queer immigration


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