Cars test brakes for dogs.
Walkers retract their leashes
a measured three paces ahead.
Heaving groomed chests
they’re nosy; otherwise quiet.
Glance into dingy windows
hawking razors, Lotto, looseys.
Move like they belong. Their
walkers record these mornings
like a safari, art, community.
If there is memory in the sway
of the jowls’ blithe rhythm
I am not in it. I am threat on
the fourth stride. One street
beyond coffee & pastries,
hover over grits; mark a left
into low-rise brick consequence
of ancestors who didn’t leave
or find fortune. Rail & river
assured the lie of the charred city.
Willful forgetting salts any richness
collected along the canal, composted
with our bodies stretched to breaking
for tobacco; a racket; dogs’
cadence turned chaos at the smell
of this flesh. The ground did flower.
With bike lanes, raised beds of greens,
tomatoes, peppers, beans; curated talks
of community history over local beer.

darlene anita scott is a visual artist and writer. She is co-editor of the creative-critical volume Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era and author of the poetry collection Marrow. Her photography can be viewed at Barren Magazine and Auburn Avenue and her mixed media art at The Journal of Compressed Arts and The West Review.