“Mi Pais, 136th and Broadway” by Tristan Franz

is it the dirty hands or the mosquitos around them
the itching immigrant image
that does it really
the smell of human in a vegetable store
next to his rain-crumpled
dollars and blackened coins, gracias
it’s hard to say

the couldn’t-care-lessness about it
groceries are groceries
here’s your bag

the this is foreign to the both of us
glance of reluctance we share
the intoxication of repitition
visible on his face
the repitition of intoxication
from bagging cans
from counting quarters
from things that don’t change

nobody said any of this
would be easy, nobody said
thank you or hello or you’re welcome
in that store nobody said nada
and everybody laughed

I threw pity cents each time
the remains of my dollar
forced fractions of compassion
into that plastic container
the sound of a jingle
you’d rather not hear

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