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.
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?