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who walks in my sneakers
on the clean sidewalks of this town?
Not knowing where to go but present
enough to hear the crunch of an ant
that he unintentionally steps on.
A person who stays on the official
concrete paths can kill without
much fear of being stepped on
or beaten by a stick. Here comes
the new pedestrian bridge that looks
like a hand being pulled slowly apart,
pinkie and thumb going east and west,
the hand of a person widely believed
to exist, to be at large, a prime
suspect in killer sneakers. A person
who smells like me, like sweat
and cinnamon gum. Who recalls
my past toothaches and yet refuses
to look at me when I speak to him.
Who is therefore always being
interrogated, walking a sidewalk
around an interrogator’s eyes,
anticipating the next question.
Do you see a person whose mouth
is speaking to you? Dear person,
how are you? I have a drought
in my eyes. This town has forgotten
how to rain. I’m walking too slowly
toward any one ocean. As a nomad
or whale, I’m nearly extinct. As
a mail carrier, I screen your mail.
I have less and less to lose, my body
will be found in a septic tank.
Therefore I love you with my whole
starvation. I give you this leaf
that controls everything.
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The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
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