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The City by Alexa Fay

She walks down the crumbling sidewalk,

Her pale arms absorbing the once-rare sunshine


To look at the worker ants crawling

Through one universe

And into the next.

The trees she passes change with the city,

The diversity of colors diminishing

Until only withered sun-bleached leaves exist.


Down the Jose Rizal bridge she goes —

An abundance of homeless people underneath her soles —

Into the International District,

In tow of friends 10 years older.

Rust and rubble surround her

As three-dollar Banh Mi and homemade bubble tea

Are replaced with high-class hotels

And real estate offices.


No white liberal vocalizes

That this “socialist hellhole”

Pushes people of color out of city boundaries

To welcome the gay white couple from San Francisco.

For, what are the chances

A city exuding institutional racism and injustice

Admits to the whitewashing?


A friend tells her

Black Lives Matter signs, staked in manicured lawns,

Are beginning to replace Black Lives.

She wonders

If any white homeowner

Knows that their presence is the problem,

That they continually step on stolen land.

Or if the sign

Is a façade — to scream and shout

That they indeed are humane!


Soon, the Goodwill will run out

Of 99-cent T-shirts and scuffed-up shoes

Because gated community committees declare:

Thrifting is in.

Soon, boarded up houses,

Rundown with mildew and dust,

Will be remembered only in essence,

Reincarnated as luxury condominiums

With rents of only $2,000 a month.


How do we create diverse spaces

When there are no more diverse people?

About the Author

Alexa Fay is a sophomore studying Nursing at Washington State University. After graduation she hopes to focus on community or public health, with an emphasis on culturally competent care. Though her studies are primarily science-based, she loves to write when time permits.