the new-modern san francisco sonnet

meredith k. t. hanlin

what do we have in common? we breathe in

shallow takes, always with the edge of burnt

cedar or oak or melted siding or

singed hair, but, for you, everything that

has cost can be brigaded over, six

different people have touched your ben &

jerry’s, your toothbrush, me. you speak of ‘work’,

ashamed of your associations, but

not enough to stop swinging that goddamned

aluminum thermos at someone who

could use the pocket-change that just lines clean

couch cushions anyway. what kindness can

you show me? tuck me into Market &

Gough, pull the curb up to my chin. see, my

people are on the street or making it,

pouring thick, hot asphalt, more carcino-

genic than the smoke breaks we take to sit

down. even in this, the time of wildfire,

the legs will give out long before the lungs.

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