Poetry by Hia Chakraborty

Plato in the Barrio 

I see black mothers weeping and black boys dying, and watch the city sleep through the rain and
pick itself up come morning, and I don’t have anyone to talk to about these things, not about the
fruits in the fridge soaked in lemon juice, or womanhood, or godhood, or girlhood, or if theyre
really three different things, and the ribbons of daylight slapping against white bare thighs in a
moving U-Haul, and the perfume of 5 Pointz five-dollar drip coffee instead of fresh aerosol
paint, and garbage cans disappearing from street corners, and bodegas hiking up
baconeggandcheeseonabagel prices, and $1.05 Arizona cans, and apartments and their rent rising
higher than mountains or gods or even what were capable of, and asking twenty-year residents
to take numbers from the ticket machines and wait to enter their houses, and deadbolts over
private parking lots, and girls pulling off their head scarves to stay alive, and Yelp complaints of
S.K. bodega cats, and cops showing us what damage they can do with their badges and their guns
and their fear, and how all the people crack open their skulls to offer whats inside, and
Starbucks grand openings on Jamaica Avenue, and South Harlem and SoHa, and how dogs dont
want to be dogs, and how homes dont want to be homes, and how everyone always looks away,
even the white boy youre sitting next to in the passenger seat of his car parked on the Bedford
Avenue corner, wondering if hes going to love you or kiss you, but never both.

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