Notes from an Airbnb

Maryan Nagy Captan

In a field of green, there is no path. There are coyotes in these mountains.

He tells me he is unemployed and has been for weeks. He never reveals the type of work he does but he receives unemployment and has health insurance. Last year, his youngest sister died from a heroin overdose, just two weeks after her 18th birthday. She was only using for a few months before she overdosed; it took no time at all. He threw her a memorial party a week ago. Everyone in Montgomery came. Dom got fucked up on pills. He is recovering but abuse runs in the family, he tells me.

He tells me his father died in an accident, just a few months after his sister’s overdose. He doesn’t say how, but I gather from his eyes, off kilter and bloodshot, that the loss broke him. He tells me that he was born in Montgomery, that most people who are born here never leave. I’m familiar with towns like this. They flood with skiers and snowboarders in the winter but are dead half the year. It’s May now.

He never leaves Montgomery, he says. He offers facts about sun gazing, Planet X, pyramids on the moon, frisbee golf. An electrical fire burned down his childhood home. An electrical fire burned down the house they built in its wake. There was no insurance the second time and they lost everything. He tells a story about an art retreat he put together in California, the theme was “Levitate” and the furniture was suspended from the ceiling.

In addition to Vermont, Dom has lived in Nevada and California. He was a semi-professional snowboarder. He sustained a serious head injury that fucks with his memory and triggers erratic behavior. He tells me there is gold in the ground, that enough of it will make him rich one day.

Dom invites me to join him on a walk to the river. I don’t say no. There is no path, we are in the mountains of Vermont, it is off season. In this field of green, there are no people. It’s just the cabin, Dom, and this abandoned basketball net.

Dom cuts down a young pine tree with a small saw-like knife. It takes him several minutes. He grunts and grits his teeth, he sweats profusely. He gulps from a can of PBR to cool off and then returns to the task at hand. The tree comes down, it is still a sapling. He saws it in two and hands me the skinny top, a walking stick.

Does this river have a name?

Without hesitating, he walks into the water. He shivers from the cold, tells me he’s coming down from an acid trip, takes a hit from a bowl. He invites me in, extends a hand but I know not to establish physical contact. I lie about having a boyfriend, I know what happens when you touch a stranger’s hand. Once physical energy is exchanged, it will be misread. The river rushes through his legs. I keep my focus.

In a field of green, there is no path. There are coyotes in these mountains.

space break

it’s 7am

and the weather smells like the whirr of a broken blender.

this morning I awoke

from a wet dream,

poured coffee into

a large



on the side of the mug is written this:

some shit in Dutch,

a crest or an heirloom.

this mug was stolen from a pauper

It weighs what I imagine is the

equivalence of my right hand.

space break



off a bridge

in search for

the gift of mimicry

the gift of an outcry




a lull in meter

I push everything under water,

a baptism on Coptic Easter.

space break

I dreamed of a dollhouse,

I dreamed of New York.

I dream

I am completely exhausted.

I am wearing unwashed pants

marked pink with the icing from a sheet cake

I did not want to eat.

I am speaking in bold and italics,

wooing too many genres of crowd.

I rap my knuckles to my ear,

and wait, quiet, for anyone to let me in.

A Mouse Dead Depression


a mouse dead in a shoebox, trapped
and the corner’s turned brown.
fingers on a clock entwined
the hand that broke the windowpane
and if I could
force the shards out,
too stuck to heal,
I could
undo the knots undone.
and if my mother had a clue
of the two-month one-night stand and
of the cigarettes I smoke
when I’m so high, I’m finding
river bears in the grain.
light it up
to get shot down
and in the mornings, I awake
to a swell in the face
a swell in the eyes
a swollen head-heavy migraine yearning for coffee sips to ease the throb.


B and I mashed up in a lonely home.
when we’re both sad for ourselves and coddling
depression like a colicky infant,
I cry
and she cries
and we cry
it spills on the carpet,
flushes through the pipes,
scuffs up white walls and
falls apart aimless.
this is our syndrome:
we emote
we adopt
I feel what you feel and together
we feel deeply.
are we sad people?




I close the door to the bathroom to take a shower, a hot/cold/hot/cold sporadic thing, which I embraced face first until I choked on the droplets. There’s a cruelty in the notion that one could drown in an empty bathtub.

a moonface between fat thumbs
like a lime tree seedless
with no seeds to sprout–
twigs snapped–
because the sun can’t reach its roots
as if the sun could
fill me up with vitamins
meant to ease the sorry,
a winter-ache,
a sappy mess,
too empathetic to heal.
there’s a design to this, I think
a method to loose shoulders,
a way to ease up or to forget
the pressure placed on a slouched spine.

Maryan Nagy Captan is an Egyptian-American poet, educator and performer living in Philadelphia, where she serves as Art Director at Apiary Magazine and teaches experimental and experiential writing classes at The Head & The Hand Press. Maryan has taught poetry and served as Poet-In-Residence at The Mitakuye Foundation’s Hoya Wayelo Arts Intensives in Pine Ridge South Dakota, The Paul Smith’s College of the Adirondacks, The Youth Culture Library in Hanoi, Vietnam and is an alumni of The Disquiet International Literary Program. Her first collection, copy/body, was published by Empty Set Press in June 2017. .