Poem: ms. margaret on her landline phone with ruth, talking about her new neighbors across the street

wall of stones
‘Colors of the stones’, Machu Pichu, by littlevanities via flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

a poem engaging equity
for my godmother & other women
who begin their sentences with the word chile

 

chile. they tore nothing down?!!
knocked out a few walls.
imported some dark stones from Peru
& turned the bathroom into a waterfall with them.

not like they came in with papers & people
with classes & promises of better apartments
& schools & moved folk out of the blues
& the browns into some reds & greens
out in Aurora or way downstate in Bloomington.

chile. it was a bone-less transition.
Mr. & Mrs. Johnson’s third child, Daniel moved them
out of that house & moved them down to Atlanta
with him & his husband. chile. property taxes were turning
that good Johnson hair whiter than it needed to be anyway.

turning mine too.

chile. you should see it in there. it’s real pretty.
make me want to go to Peru & gather me some stones
& flip my bathroom into a paradise.
but I got too much compassion for the homesick.

yes chile. stones have root too.
what I look like displacing stones
out of the land they know to be home all their lives?
& you know people. nobody can have it better than the other.
I go to Peru & get me some stones. then your Aunt Mae will go
sweeping through Peru to get her some of them stones.

pretty soon folk will have changed what Peru look like.
chile. folk will turn Peru stoneless.
all in the name of having something nice
in the hood.

but chile. my new neighbors are good people.
as good as the Johnsons I assume.
they let me me walk up in there & everything.
told them I could respect them.
told them their deal was fair & square
from the hand of one family to the hand of another.
unlike what happened to all them folk in the blues
& the browns down the street.

told them I hope I can still be their neighbor.
with these property taxes turning my hair whiter
& whiter each time they are due.

told them I just wanted them to know that I know
unlike our neighbors up the street
their home is clear of bones.

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