Audrey tells me about the birds,
and her dead mother.
The strands of the two stories
tangle like her curly Filipina hair.
She thinks the nested robins are listening.
Losing the family home
to a long list of liars:
real estate brokers, mortgage bankers, and lawyers
in grey sharkskin shoes
I am standing
like the last, lone tooth
in the rum breath
of an old Black man,
They are fixing up the neighborhood
belle of my boulevard, Lula Mae:
I hoped you would come again today
wearing your favorite black shoe.
Oh you, mother to the street corner child
who knew their names, cried for the nameless too.
The white child
With the black friend
Sits crying tonight
Under the halogen light;
Anna has a basil
in the nicest pot:
This war will be
better than the last one,
and quicker too:
A smart, strong war;
It will put the clumsy, old ones to shame.