Rhode Island Avenue
because I’m not afraid of the black or the poor,
because black is just black and poor is just poor,
and back then I could’ve collected welfare checks
had I wanted, but I believed my poverty would pass
and I believed I’d be stealing from hungry babies
and I believed I was too damn special and proud
to need—or admit needing—from anyone at all.
I stood in Silver Spring, where I had paid for
a friend’s meal, knowing he was much poorer,
even homeless, and feeling strangely smug
because I had slapped down my debit card.
I could buy two sandwiches and two sodas,
and now I would go Christmas shopping
because I had money in my account
and that made me a minor god.
Sing low, sweet WMATA car.
Coming for to take me home.