West Philly

Listen to author
[audio:https://killauthor.com/audio/issuesixteen/cristin_okeefe_1.mp3|titles=West Philly|artists=Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz]

I meet you here at the intersection of pitbull and
pigeon, at the valley of the screaming bus brakes,
where every thin squirrel and sweating toddler
packs its cheeks with leftover McDonalds. I meet
you where the sunbeams are filthy and relentless,
where graffiti washes its hair over train tressles,
its lousy dye job streaking everywhere, where
the bees come in two sizes: invisible and huge.
I meet you here where I first met you, last year
around this time, empty backpack and open-eyed.
West Philly, you are a cellphone shoved into habib.
You are cop on bike running me over on a sidewalk.
You are the same six homeless guys. West Philly,
I tried to love you, but you were smarter than that.
Knew I’d leave. You kept me at a distance. You gave
me opportunity and shitty diners and junkies who
hid stuff in our flower pots. You gave me time and
space and mouse shit on everything. You gave me
a tightrope, no umbrella, no net. West Philly, you
told me it’s not that hard. The trick is to keep moving
forward, to never look down, to never look back.