1. Domestic Adoption:
No joke, black babies are cheaper—
white ones cost ten grand more. That’s not
how she phrased it on the phone
after the gauge of my uterus
had fixed itself on empty.
I’d made peace with the threat of
you’re not my “real” mother &
called for information, but here’s
how it broke down:
30K service fees for white babies,
20K for black. The wait-list is shorter
she told me. Most of our couples want babies who look
Imagine her joy when she found out we were
a biracial couple, Sunday & me, & we were looking
for a black baby. Imagine how we took
out loans cosigned with my mother
& how the call came just two months later,
faster than any other couple there.
2. Strolling through Koreatown
new home where we’d sought peace after
death threats posted on our apartment door:
We watch the garbage truck lift its steely arms
& heave our trash bin over its shoulders.
The garbage man honks his horn.
Mack! you yell. You think all trucks are called that.
A grandfather trundles his grandson-
filled cart toward our neighborhood market.
Fish fry in the air, fire-bright koi in the pond.
I don’t need to convince you we’re safe.
You grin & say Hi! He nods.
The other baby stares but says nothing.
You peel the tan bark off a birch tree like a scab,
thumb it, inspect it: Nice tree.
3. Rainstorm (after the riots):
The child believes
he is made only
until it rains
& the child
walks the streets
he can create, with his
body, with only
his body a prism
I might never have seen.