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.
Featured painting by Jacob Glushakow