Fame Food & Liquor

we cut down 115th street for a quicker stroll
past the pastor's house, vacant lot, liquor store.

buses pointing out the hood & back. the route
every morning goes by the liquor store.

the loose Philly blunts and hard & dry. the sour mouth
washed away by a dull gulp of liquor. store

a honey bun in your fat back pocket. pray
nobody notices your awkward walk. this liquor store

sees stumbling often. out front the garish stickers fluoresce
on the wire windows like winos with liquor store

bottles. a small weapon sits behind the counter hidden by the cigarettes
& candy small enough to steal. when the liquor store

is locked up the rolling metals make the window
a pastoral, part of our natural habitat. behold the liquor store:

the sugar waters, the Ziploc bag of coins
& Nate's tongue the color of loose pennies in the liquor store.

Nate Marshall, "Fame Food & Liquor" from Wild Hundreds. Copyright © 2015 by Nate Marshall. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)
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