The lawyer said, a petition for status
might not take as long as it used to
back in the day. But at the same time,
no one knows; things could change.
Isn’t it great not to have to worry
about how long you can continue to stay
in your apartment, find work, attend
school? Your first landlady threw
cigarette butts from the street
onto your veranda. She thought you
were the one up all night, flicking
menthol wrappers and dead
smokes into the darkness.
It gets old fast, this game of being
mistaken for someone else and their
misdemeanors. The last landlord
mentioned casually that his tenant
before you kept things scrupulously
clean. You wondered if that had
anything to do with the quarter
inch film of green scum you found
across the entire refrigerator top.
It took you a good part of the after-
noon to scrape it away with water
and bleach. Where you come from, the boys
on every street corner could polish
the most miserable shoe to a high shine.
In pouring rain, aunts and grandmothers
take up their stick brooms, vigorously sweep
rainwater from their thresholds and out
into the street— as if tossing back
at the sky its audacious surplus.
In response to Via Negativa: Proving the rule.