I am crossing San Pablo
Avenue at twilight and suddenly
the sky is riven with angels
one of whom
falls at my feet.
says the man
on the bike.
You’re so beautiful,
that angel just fell from the sky
I accepted the call
but because there was no reception at the apartment,
I carried my phone five blocks to stand
at the corner of 16th and Castro.
It is 11:00 pm. Covered head to toe in dark blue
puffy jacket, dark blue jeans
I ponder out loud to you
as a man walks by:
You working? he asks.
I’m on the phone… I answer.
On the phone, you ask what just happened.
I walk to a diner and order pancakes, bathe them
in syrup, nearly the whole jar.
I leave the leftovers box outside, anointing
the top of the trash can with someone’s next meal.
Whenever there is a mugging,
we all come outside
to see this thing that has happened.
When I got mugged, the neighbors came bearing
sunflowers, chocolate, and a pink plastic
key-chain canister of mace.
When it was the old man, Niz got punched in the face
chasing them down MLK to the gas station with Russell and Tom.
After Marie, the firemen came:
7 of them, in a truck as long as our block, to return her wallet, rescued from their dumpster.
It wasn’t till the homicide that the construction company
put up flood lights, posted security–finally decided they might be liable.
By then, we had already been saved: saved each other
congregating on the stoop each night, partaking in Teresa’s cornbread, Jon’s Coronitas
loved our neighbors by making sure they made it home.