Lit Issue 2019 | Poetry

poem for us

remember when the earth carved out a place for us?
remember cartoons and cereal and superhero underwear
and skinny brown legs and double dutch and
passing notes and i don’t know what home is.

Lit Issue 2019 | Poetry

here i am at the National Portrait Gallery

mostly people want to see the portraits of the Obamas.
directions to their locations perch on the lips
of the women at the front desk before i even reach them.
i go up the marble stairs.
i give Andrew Jackson the finger and
wish it could actually change anything.
above the hall of presidents, i imagine a banner:

Lit Issue 2019 | Poetry

Kimbark Plaza

it seems like they’ve made everything else condos
or a restaurant with edison bulbs.
but on 53rd between Woodlawn and Kimbark,
the plaza is still there, all low rise and boring taupe,
all caps Helvetica signage and intensely nothing special.
the bank and Harold’s Chicken.
the grocery store and the public mailbox.
the laundromat and the 24 hour drug store just in case.
i imagine we live in a quaint town and not a city
at odds with its own reflection.
i imagine my neighbors aren’t taking online quizzes
to find out if they’re gentrifiers – anything
to be adjacent to soft destruction,
but not the wrecking ball itself.
the university students believe their tuition
has bought them a whole city.
their ambition takes up the sidewalk, crosses the street
without knowing what ghosts haunt their hallowed, but
on a Wednesday at Kimbark, they buy their bread same as me
stand in line for the ATM, all of us just citizen, such justice,
scurrying with the things we need
back to our little places
before the cold gets the best of us.
at the liquor store they play music i like
and i feel like everything on the shelves is mine.
the cashier speaks like family speaks,
gives me a little something for free, a dad pressing a fifty
into your hand before you make the drive back
to wherever you’re finding home these days.