in a world of cold/isolation/silence:
you experience america as a gift of the unborn,
where freedom bells ring/where
stars and stripes sing: america!
turn your dreams into reality!
but: the overpriced bodega coffee in your hand
is all the warmth anyone will ever give you.
every thought is a pending hope, an unspoken wish.
those blurry/sparse/bright-night lights:
he sounds and the swiftness
of cold fingers, of chapped lips in winter air,
loose-lined syllables in thin rejection slips
shrapnels of glittering gold-paved pathways,
blood streaming thinner than water.
our parents’ sharp-rimmed tongues
fail to conceal the tenderness of words.
those loose-lined syllables hit
like crumbling glass, red and white and blue
and glittering gold; even silver and bronze.
the coffee-warmth of city lights seeps
out through gloves and dissolves into
streets filled with brittle ice and gritty slush.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.