new but also not: girl of two cities
The experience of growing up in one city and leaving it for another.
it’s all the same and yet it’s not a new city a new place to call home a new start she holds on tight to the memories of the city that came before the one that raised her saw her grow a city she clings onto like a past lover a city with a collection of four seasons that cycled forward marking the timeline of her life up until now now she walks new streets rides new trains and finds new ends during afternoon walks new but also not here but also there she closes her eyes whitened knuckles grip the metal pole her body sways with the sudden halt of the brakes she hears the familiar hum of the train engines the same ones she grew up with she closes her eyes the popsicle from a man pushing a cart on a summer day the gust of wind curving through skyscrapers during a quiet snowfall the soft ground hidden under delicate autumn leaves the smell of rain in the air as the first blooms unfold the same ones she grew up with she closes her eyes the sound of whirring sirens that lull her to sleep the muffled voices of a packed coffee shop the rhythmic howls and barters of busy markets the same ones she grew up with new but also not here but also there her city the place she’s always called home it’s been with her from the start
This was inspired after writing a previous poem called Windy City Winters that reflected my nostalgia for growing up in Chicago. After moving to New York and spending a few years there, I began to notice the parallels between the two– not just because they were cities but because I realized the heart of a city stays the same. I will forever cherish my home in Chicago, but I am grateful and excited for the new cities I have yet to experience. This poem is a reflection of that.
Shoilee Mandal is a high school sophomore in New York City. She finds inspiration for art and writing through the diversity within her city and beyond, hoping to deepen her understanding of different cultures and voices through journalism, poetry, and short stories.