Volume 24, Number 1

Brief Letter in Red Lipstick Found on Windshield

Walmart parking lot, Southern CA

GO BACK seven scores TO find
honest work laying tracks, swollen
joints of labor, and skin like an early sun
that sleeps too few hours, works triple
shifts and never sees a raise. Skin like
YOUR OWN skin. Cut to an assault
on your used car in your own FUCKING
COUNTRY: botched attempt to meld
gaudy with the grotesque in costume
red. Each wipe dirties your hand
you think, as blood would, dizzy
with logic, ancestors’ breath
cold on your neck. Quintet on replay
in your mouth: but I was born here, but
I was born here, but I was before
you snap back, searching your handbag
for weaponry.

—zakia henderson-brown