I still had the disease
of a socialist heart
when I moved to Kensington.

This city taught me brevity
in moments that scratch
and stay scratching long after
the bite is gone.
I pulled my skin off in an
effort to disintegrate,
in an effort to rid myself of
masks.
I moved through that neighborhood
like a ghost at night
seeking secrets, and holding them
inside.

I used to waste time explaining
the things I would see:
the rabid corners
with the men peering at me
in my skirt,
their ideas about it;
the women passed out nearby,
and the cops pinching them in
latex gloves;
the women with the broken noses,
the women wearing nooses
and me handing them their reward;
the man begging for his life
one unfortunate night,
and the boom I heard after
as he hit the ground
and I scurried away;
or the caution tape
on my door
and the chalk outline of the
shells, and me knowing
who was involved, and me
staying a whole extra year
out of guilt.

But now I see my book turned into a
print, my legacy:
simply a snapshot of me
walking to Allegheny station
not giving out bus tokens
or cigarettes,
watching where I step
across where the reaching fingers
lay,
and a minor obsession
with letting go of what
is always pulling me to stay.

I feel most comfortable
living in
graves.

“Kensington”

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