And the old men, supervising grown grandsons, nephews,
any man a boy given this chance of making
a new sidewalk outside the apartment building where
some of them live, three old men and their wives,
the aging unmarrying children, and the child
who is a cousin, whose mother has sent her here
because she doesn’t know what to do with her,
she’s out of control, she wants to be a gangsta, and
the old folks talk to her as if she minds them
and already has that respect for their years her mother
finally grew into.
The girl who does not look
like them eats and eats and sleeps late, sneaks away
when they are busy, and tonight will write herself
all over the sidewalk while it is still wet but
the old have gone inside, and the grown gone home,
and her mother who is somewhere overseas thinks of
writing her that long long letter, but decides not to.
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