Amber Atiya, my sister breaks bread in the streets

my sister hears voices named after
the supremes.
they talk shit to her on sunny days.
they tell her to tell me not to get too close—
it’s been a week.
my shades block my eyes from her eyes.
my sister says there are some things
i want to say
says i have plenty kids in my future
my bills are my babies, my name
on their lips
says the city pins her down
with its sadness
that it needs a traveling fair
the scent of smoked meat, the freaky
noise of clowns.
my sister says when a poor man can forgive
a two-figure loan
can hug tight his enemies
when the sight of a woman buffers
his rage, boils its bones for soup,
that means he’s in love.
she says staying in love is easier
than keeping a roof over your head.
my sister price gauges
hustles newports a dollar a pop
sleeps on a bench
too hard for dreaming.
she says there’s a solid light
inside me people call crazy
cause my best friend is a bee
cause i speak its language.
my sister asks me to remove
my shades
says i have eyes
like a best friend.
my sister warns me the world
will try to steal my bumble and sting.
don’t let it, my sister’s plea muffled by
the music her hand makes
rummaging through a garbage bag of
sometimes my sister’s hand
pushes rooks across a board
in union square
college students, yuppie couples
conspiring against her.
my sister says checkmate
makes her feel invincible.
my sister says voila, burdens my palm
with penny candies
caramel cubes, laffy taffies, eighties baby
my sister wonders if the light-skinned
A-rabs still own the candy store
under the el where we grew up
in brooklyn.
my sister wonders
if they’ve been deported.
my sister says don’t travel abroad
they’ll never let you    
into the country.
my sister tells me to visit next time
i’m on 14th street. just
don’t get too close.
she makes me pinky swear.
then asks for a hug. P