Higo Mannequins and a Japanese Doll
Through the storefront window,
laden in dust and dead shadows,
rests the remains of what was once
a hub of human civilization—
not of the orderly sort,
no flowery memories of better times;
the hood knew no green gardens,
just beer cans, cigarettes, and rust.
But even those days—
before grime became grimier
and God closed his eyes and ears
to all the tears and prayers,
before my uncle—long since dead—came back to life
without eyeballs, nose, or even skin,
before the bombs were dropped,
and dogs preferred dog food over human flesh,
the days when dudes picked fights with you just because
and girls preferred money over flowers—
were a time when one had to carry a knife whenever outside,
not because they would need it, but because the potential for trouble was there.
Now, it’s needed needed.
Even those days, garbage-littering-every-corner days, were better than this.
Creeping through the old building,
looking more mausoleum than bodega,
a can of old SpaghettiOs rattles against my beat up Nikes—
clinking clanging climbing and clinging corner to corner,
echoing—telling whoever, whatever, that some idiot is in the building,
a fool who thinks he could find
something lost to him long ago,
but no alarm is raised
and the fool continues on his fool’s errand,
swatting away milky cobwebs
so thick and gray that one needed more than a few swings
to be able to tell wall from empty air
behind the counter where a register—now a relic—leaves a deep imprint on the wood.
Brown gum wrappers swarm,
gathered in a static mess
coated in mold
growing blue and rabid.
My father’s ghost lingers here,
this store a part of him
since before I first drew breath
and cried and screamed
for food, for love, for comfort,
none of which he provided much of.
But still, here I am,
looking for a memory
that was never alive,
a photo of a dead man,
in his arms a dead child
who still roams these crooked streets.
Michael Abreu is a Philadelphia resident. He resides in the Germantown area and takes frequent walks through Wissahickon Valley Park where he muses about life, love, happiness, and personal growth. These thoughts often find themselves in his poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction pieces. Through his exploration of writing, he seeks not only an improved mastery of the skill, but also a deeper understanding of who he is.
Miya Sukune is a visual artist working and residing on an island in the Pacific Northwest. She works with paint at her studio easel and designs in metal for her public art. Her solo shows include Mt. Hood Community College (OR) and Hastings-Cone Gallery. More examples of her work can be found at www.miyasukune.com.