Jamaica Bay Machhua

she slang her dress over her knee

tightly bundled 

tucks her carefully pinned dupatta into her sweater

already damp and heavy

from leaning into the water all afternoon

squatting into scaly run off 

legs and back bent like a frog’s

As the sun runs 

from the docks 

she scrapes peanut bunker into a bucket

from the tarp 

spread across their commandeered

section of the pier

Warning the ladkis not to play

near the railings

she spies the looming quiet

amongst the overhead planes passing

the quarreling chess players

brightening bachata music 

and distant rumbling of cars on the Belt Parkway

that surrounds her family 

Serenity seeps into every fisher face

gazing into the bay

the darkness soon come

as they say

Time to get home for dinner

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Minister Mama

no stabbing demons

or slaying dragons for me

I didn’t save your legs from breaking

or solve the world’s aching

heroics aren’t really my thing

no mountain of lies did I chip away at

or speak great truths to be had

I lack luster and deservedness

less than special

but I did get through this day

Doggedly rode out the pain

in between bad caffeine shots

and propped eyelids and bandaged hearts

because the mission mandates 

that I just

I just 

make it to tomorrow 

The Month After September

It’s cold out as tourists snap pictures of the gaping hole in the center of the 9/11 Memorial site. People are unfazed by the rain as it mixes into the constantly churning waters. The sound of the giant, cubic waterfall drowns out the rest of the city in this congested part of lower Manhattan. In the distance, the museum gleams, packed with even more people.  

Officers wielding large weapons appear every few minutes or so, scanning the area instead of taking it in. Some people march by, dressed in suits or business attire, barely glancing at the memorial as they file by in herds towards the rebuilt train station. Others stare down into the gushing rapids, or carefully run their hands over the hundreds of names engraved in the black stone surrounding the water. Everyone is trying to take the best picture to bring home in commemoration. They have to bend in awkward angles because the memorial sites for both buildings are vast in depth and size, and hard to fit into frame.   

The blown out windows in all of the bordering buildings are all fixed. Dust in the streets has been replaced by sturdy, dark concrete that stretches in every direction. A new Starbucks is bustling, while the destroyed corner church’s construction is still underway. It’s walls will have vines, green patches, and an observation deck overlooking both of the tower memorials. In the background, the freedom tower is tall and brightly lit in the onslaught of night. The first few floors flicker on and off in a subtle pattern. From the plaza there is no bottom in sight to the waterfall. It seems to go on forever into the ground.

 

Like Children

My knee joints knocked from a lifetime of running

nothing would bring more joy than the sight

of losing the neighborhood boy in the wake of my stride

I’d track buses, chase dogs

just to break a sweat

but when our old souls met

my body had yet to learn that we’d slow eventually

we’d run together

do you remember

spitting in the face of our youth

we’d boast that neither one of us had ever moved faster

so we ran

we’d race

side by side

knees aching as age begged us to quit

but we were in love with it

the thrill of who can get to the door faster

loser makes dinner, winner stays forever

doesn’t matter

the car’s around the building across two lawns and a parking lot

we’d take off like the Olympics

he was leg, thigh muscle

but I was all distance

this was the way we lived, our existence

all gleeful and foolish

First time my knee gave out I was astonished it buckled under me. Stitches upon keloids upon black marks and scuffs that I never thought twice about until a pain bounced

so lightning quick

from there through my skin and muscle and bone that in a moment of shrouded clarity

I thought who shot you

as I tumbled a little down the stairs I had visions of intruders taking flight, aiming the gun just right, so that I could never run again.

Panic bit up my ankle

leapt onto my chest

started to dance

If I am shot

if my faithful knee has fallen whom would I run to

where would I go

My pulse quickened. Minutes seemed to pass. I’d never two step or tap my feet in anger or ruthlessly beat the kids in tag because I’m petty and bigger.

Heart sounded so loud in my ears as I clasped my leg

what if I never run with you again

what if I never run to you again

 

They End

Bolted upright I ask aloud to a sleeping room

“Is this a dream”

The timbre of my voice weighs down my ears, letting

me know that it’s not

Instinctively I feel for the dip.

Cool. Empty

Tiredness shoves me back into the pillow as if to say,

“Yes it always was but you knew that already”

I pray for answers that won’t come from simply having been asked

I used to pray loudly

out in a pasture where no one but ghosts could witness

now everything’s silent mutterings as I lull myself back

to restlessness

“It’s okay. It was a good dream.

Good dreams get to end.”

 

The Pursuit Of

we real cool

we beat slow

mellow flow hold

the fluidity at a

decibel of a syllable

go

vent

we street meat

in the belly

we brew steady heavy

live accents &

accidents