Oct 12, 2017, 07:02AM


I hold hands with a cousin in Flatbush.

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I am crowded in a box spooked by voices of children
playing outside. The neighborhood isn’t boarded up
yet. Sunflowers droop in backyard, smells like cat piss
and cooking meat. Locked in here like a bad joke,
no wonder I can’t breathe. I leave plastic Civil War
soldiers fighting on coffee table next to Hershey
Kisses and lead ashtray schlepped from New York 
to Warsaw and back to New York. Heavy silver 
nutcracker in a bowl of walnuts next 
to my grandfather’s chair. Box of despair becomes
box of wings where I fly away, flapping against
walls and creaky floors, a bird crashing against
tiny windows, green lights, weight of family arguments
on my chest, father snatching tools from my little hands.

I hold hands with a cousin in Flatbush, 
watch waiters in stained tuxedos serve smelly food,
speaking Yiddish, I am slumped in ratty black booth,
filthy curtains muffling mid-century traffic,
a milky sun on hot pavement, I am squinting,
barely able to see after excruciating morning in dark apartment
listening to strangers plot new world where there is 
no room for me or my notebooks full of scratchings. 
I do not get away, I get out, I leave, I wander, I fly
like an unstoppable arrow, I reach an island in the sky
and see eighty miles all around me, but, I do not
get away, I squeeze soft alarm, am slid from
slippery coffin, a wide beach with sandpipers 
in front of me, I fly my kite waiting for a family
to come lay down its fresh blanket in the cool soft sand.


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