our store used to be an auto body shop
oil pools iridescent on the pavement
while a woman on the street is fighting
with the meter maid;
the grey mist counts as rain here,
and everyone’s mood is sour.
I run across the street to the
café-slash-bike shop to grab a coffee;
instead, I leave with an oat milk dirty chai
and a vegan sausage sandwich.
hell, it’s york blvd after all,
and I’m already part of the problem
maybe I’m tired of fighting the problem
from my keyboard when I’m off the clock,
tired of nodding from behind the counter
at the short-banged white women
telling me that they are getting
priced out of the neighborhood
while I ring them up
for a two-hundred dollar blouse
tired of gritting my teeth
when they muse that they’ll
just buy property
in huntington park and watts
because “I just need a place to live”
but everyone needs a place to live
especially the people already living
in huntington park and watts.
maybe I just want to lean into it for a day.
maybe I just want to feel what it’s like
to buy a café breakfast that costs
an hour’s worth of my wage.
it feels like I’m barely scraping by.
I grab the packages left at jesse’s
while we were closed,
run back to the store
open the grates
and start the day.