“Paw Paw” by David Tomaloff
On Bush Street
My window looks into an air shaft
dark and musty with smells of foreign foods
and aging hoarders
ten people sleep in the studio across from me.
My other window looks at a wall
painted grey streaked white with shit.
The pigeons drive Moxie my cat to grow wings.
the studio smells of 409 and heat
a muggy New York City’s summer
trapped inside San Francisco walls.
The hooker downstairs
tells me the former tenant
died on the twin mattress where I sleep.
The southern white landlord asks me to leave
makes up lies
about my black boyfriend
and my black cat.
Moxie leaves me a gift
in the middle of the apartment
placed on a pyramid
of shredded paper towels
a dead mouse.