Sunday Stew: My Neighborhood

by Alex Gallo-Brown

In my neighborhood
there is no place to sit,
not unless you count the porches
since it is mostly houses here,
but I am tired of my view
of clumped leaves and empty streets,
of women in scrubs smoking,
of men, never more than one but multiple,
dragging firewood from where to where I never ask
although we sometimes wave.
So today I have decided to walk
through the parts of my neighborhood
that I have not gotten to know
simply because I have not bothered to walk
the two blocks in two years
to where the houses butt up against the interstate,
only a thin wall of concrete
separating where the people live
and the people drive,
all those consciousnesses confined to cars
when I have access only to mine—
my neighborhood, my mind.
I pass a pile of plastic shards,
its origin unclear,
a backyard greenhouse
growing who knows what,
a fence of razorwire
dividing houses from a field
of industrial machinery.
On a porch, a man
regards me with indifference and suspicion.
I wave my tea at him and carry on.
On the next block, I sit down
near a sign that says, “STOP.”
A small car turns, speeding past me
without a thought.
I realize that I must look foolish
sitting down on the corner
with my mug of ceramic tea,
in search of an indication
of this place warming to me,
or a warning
that I belong.

head-shotAlex Gallo-Brown is a poet and prose writer living in South Seattle. His poems have appeared in publications that include Tahoma Literary Review, Pacifica Literary Review, Seattle Review of Books, and City Arts magazine. He is currently a writer-in-residence with Seattle Arts and Lectures’ “Writers in the Schools.”

The featured image is attributed to Chris Dlugosz under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

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