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I've never dated a girl with green eyes,
Mine always had brown

I like how tender
the whites of their eyes stand
against the pigment

But the more I look at them
the harder it is
to get away from myself
peeling wallpaper
2. unembossed boarskin
3. sunburnt mahogany
4. sequin firewood
5. bible page bark
6. chocolate tendrils
7. exfoliating exoskeleton
8. bleached crimson
9. acid wash chestnut
10. sycamore's elbow
As the intimately familiar screech
of an emergency alert is issued, a displaced

plastic bottle streams along the flooded sidewalk.
Sudan still does not have sustainable water.

The mouths of widowed women and bludgeoned children
run dry. Darfur is a skeleton.

The death of the last male northern white rhino,
named Sudan, receives more coverage than the genocide.

In 2016, a photographer
received award from the World Press contest

for capturing seven-year-old Adam Abdel’s extensive burns
After his own government bombed his village,

Adam received displacement.
My bones are a fine charcoal
marrow and expensive ink
Cracked enamel and paint
slowly  staining my mother’s sink
from "Black Bones" collection
I don’t want to watch the wallpaper yellow.
The floral patterns cause vertigo,
while the hallways whisper
gospel sounds
and talk of gelatin for dessert.

I’m afraid that when I fall for another man,
he will have a shearling wheelchair.
he will be a caregiver
raising the crooked footrest.

There won’t be quinoa substitute
or aperitif.
My meals will likely be
a glass of sulfur water and
mixed vegetables dressed in gravy.

Derived from a cheap grocery list
where my name is written
In between “milk” and “flour”
Because I was not remembered.
from "Evenings In Jackson Heights"
the oak frames and polyester tarp peel
like the hawkers’ chapped lips.
Where I come from,

a collection of relics litters the street:
single-use syringes  
having abandoned their craftsmanship.

A foreign couple flashes their dialect,
and suddenly everyone listens.

There are no neighborhood parks,
as they had been told,
only a routine array of displacement.

A young woman with painted eyes  
stands over the rot  
of an abandoned children’s museum.

Even the divet in a curbside mattress  
remains unaccompanied.

What is more terrifying?  
being raised in a city built for crime,  
or a city built for no one.
from "Black Bones" collection
When my adrenaline caught a breath
of sandalwood musk, and a hint of
disinfectant from an anxious party host,
I knew I was entering the war.
Discolored shoes shuffling

over a film of beer
that dirtied the parents'
checkered tiles.
Medallions peeking
through unbuttoned shirts,

dancing and grooving until the
basement lights snapped
their joints awake.
They went to war
over Colombian Gold.

It smelled of strange fruit,
with earthy notes
that lingered throughout
the boys' hair; styled to hide
the nape of their necks.

They talked about the war
through the lines of demarcation
on their chapped lips
and cotton ball mouths.
One boy offered me a pill.
from "Evenings in Jackson Heights"
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