on sundays i don’t hide because i can’t. they—the poor—don’t hide from me—the rich; so i have to drive and stare at their callouses while feeling the one inside of me grow harder. we drive through their squalor, through the potholes and the fissures that threaten to ruin our daytime leisure of decadent grilled barracuda and plantains, where we fight the current rumored to have swept swimmers to a place where they gave up fighting and gave in to a fifteen minute death (drowning is a threefold process: in 2-3 minutes you lose consciousness, in 5-10 you suffer brain damage, in 15 your body follows suit).
the children sometimes wear nothing but joy (i remember saving up $35 when i was ten or eleven to purchase a winter coat emblazoned with MI colors and logos—two other winter coats already in possession.). the stray chiens are emancipated, always; still they are part of the beninois food pyramid. the elderly and the disabled (or the ones who fake disablement) beg here with a tap on your car window—unashamed. i ignore them and instead feel their shame for them.
these people undo me. how do you live here and do nothing? even more fearful to me: how do you live here and do something without being overcome with the realization of the person you really are?