Robert Santiago

Issue 13 • April 2014

It's not true that you can't see stars out here. 
The block is a stage where we put on plays 
starring triple threats everyday. 

Multiple job-having, child-raising, lovemaking 
barely old enough to see-n-say. 
Even though bedtime has been dreaming for hours, 

little boys and girls tap dance 
profanity, pampers and paraphernalia 
in the aftermath of a hydrant 

someone’s absent father cracked open. 
Dirty cherub faces smile through humidity. 
chase lightning bugs, and pretend 

what they heard was just fireworks. 
Apparently the Bronx is still burning. 
Built on the flea-ridden backs of dogs, 

a landflll nestled into the monogrammed 
pocketsquares of slumlords. Where fire 
flies and depending on the closeness of your mother 

to the Con-Ed guy, even the lights hated being, 
and with good reason. Standing on fire 
escapes, my neighbor’s voices CharlieChaplin 

and watch shadows, ski masks and empty seats 
in GED classes knock over the last street lamp on our block 
where shattered glass & antifreeze prism asphalt 

into obstacles and constellations. 
Someone should clean up all that glass & oil 
but there isn't a parade or photo op anytime soon 

and the Senator’s office moved several train stops away, 
so why bother.