Flatbush, New York, New York


Charles Theonia January 9, 2017

On Cortelyou summer children shriek and hurl

ice left after the market stands close up.

Cold crystals scatter across the steaming sidewalk.

A dirty white cat ducks under a dirty white van,

and I hug the edges of the low brick buildings.

In their departure one older boy wraps

his arms around the waist of another, head

tucked down into his slim shoulder.

The rent’s too high to live where I grew up.

I’m here, two subway stops removed, unsure

how I’m any different than that young

white woman who yelled down at me

and my new bisexual friends being teenagers

too loudly below her Park Slope window.

We screamed Fuck off Go back to Connecticut!

the worst insult we could conceive of, and ran off

into the park to drink Mike’s Hard and worry

some more about touching each other.

At least I do no yelling now. I am

a quiet, unknown neighbor to these boys:

a slow and unremarked-on violence in itself.

I’m stuck standing at the curb, searching

for an alternative to being useless.

Their bodies press and arc into a deep lean,

dark slender trees bowing in a big wind

as their motorcycle curves the corner.

More stories