hazard on euclid, 2

back for the first time in six months
and it looks like the trees have filled in
and perhaps the houses, too

families in there now, tall houses
crowded close together where
once i used to splash along to school
during el nino storms, when i didn’t know
what a rainjacket was.
watching the waves rise from tires
onto the black asphalt dividing
those rows from the street
and that little blue house
sitting so steadfast

i never knew who lived there, or
who worked there. i never knew
their names or how the world was
treating them. i lived around
the corner for over a decade and
never knew anything about them other
than that they had a strawberry stand
that seemed mostly closed

now i’m acting out a kind of
life in oakland, where people like me
are trying to start small farms,
to have collectives, but even we,
who want so badly to build community,
cling tight to our own and can
hardly reach out to our own neighbors,
the ones who live up and down the street,
the ones who have lived there for years
and the ones who are new, just like us.

we look down our noses at the
gentrifiers while terrified ourselves
that we are them, and struggling to find the strength to
become suburban farmers, or to own and work land,
to trust one another to be closer
than the families we may have left
behind and do not know how to return to

history is moving in strange cycles
and it makes my head spin.

hazard on euclid, 1