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I cleared my throat and found I had swallowed my civic pride.
My gorge smarting, I stood up in the town
and put on some scaffolding
and Tyvek that floated around me like a curtain
into which a breeze whispers a dirty joke.
I found a citizen in the town,
God he loves this city. He loves it so much he lies down
on top of me to put out the fire when he finds me standing
in flame. Despite him the fire spreads to surrounding lots.
The golden figure at the top of the municipal building—
the angel on my hat that signals Civic Pride
to all who lift their gaze heavenward—
comforts me in my inferno. The fire is beautiful.
I do not know who lit this fire.
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But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.