My Corner

(Excerpt from Outcast)

another shot and somewhere someone is dead.
like my sister
just yesterday
while she walked to school.
and me too at some point.
i stand here selling dope to men.
from uptown, i guess, where it’s safe.
as long as they have the cash
and the need
i don’t care where they’re from.

another cop drives by.
i no longer bother to hide.
fear of the law was the first fear i lost.
it is safer in prison anyway.
and the cockroaches don’t crawl over me at night.

over there, on the other corner,
someone got pinched the other day.
i don’t know why they bother.
a new face showed up the next day
to take his place.

i hope they pinch me soon, too.
before a bullet finds me.
but what else can i do?
i stand here in broad daylight
selling dope and daring them.
i guess there’s just too many to pinch us all.

i squint at the new one on the other corner
and know i would kill him if boss asked me to —
’cause boss would kill me if i didn’t.
it doesn’t matter anyway.
i mean what are the chances they would pinch me?
and even if they did,
i would be alive.
for a long time, at least.

but i don’t think about any of it anymore:
about the bullet that will find me
or about killing someone i do not know
or about the law that doesn’t exist out here —
only the ones who own the other corner
and my hope they don’t want mine.