Tourists Troubling A Tourist

It happens twice in every city, at least.
I’m stopped on street corners in suburbs
or at bus stops, or outside train stations.
I’m pulled aside as I cross the road,
tugging my earphone from my right
to address a person tapping at my left.
“How do I get to Washington Square Park?”
“Where is the nearest Subway, do you know?”
And the thing is, I always know, every time.
I’m able to give them an answer, direct them
like a proper local, knowing the streets,
knowing the city like the back of my hand.
Stranger than being asked; strange to know.
I’m a tourist, seeing the sights just like them,
believe it or not.

Mistake my travelling alone for the solitude
of somebody who rents a one-bedroom flat
just around the corner from where we are.
Mistake my fast pace for the walk of someone
who knows where they’re going, someone
who can tell you where you’re going.

I’m a tourist, and I know, while you don’t.
So thank you for that, fellow foreigners.

Atlanta, May 2016

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