I know crips live here. So many couches and blanket throws. I know crips live here. A bathroom filled with coconut oil, unscented conditioner and black soap. I know crips live here. Your Humira and T on the bottom shelf of the fridge. I know crips live here. Only house on the block with a homemade ramp, property standards so mad. I know crips live here. Big exhale at the shower chair, the slip pads and the air purifier. I know crips live here. I see all the things in reach around your mattress of glory, the vibrator, the library books, the TV, the stuffed animals. I know crips live here. Straws and Poise pads and crosswords and weighted blankets and stim toys. I know crips live here. You've been home for a couple days. A week. That's the imprint of your ass in the couch surrounded by empty bags of food and plates and the Advil and the heating pad. I know crips live here. 50 pounds of epsom salts, from the farm store, your painkiller display like an altar. I know crips live here. I see your EBT card and your fought for DSHS care attendant. I know crips live here. How you taught yourself to be an herbalist so you could afford to manage your pain. I know crips live here. Everybody late. I know crips live here. Your dogs, cats and stuffed animals are part of your family. I know crips live here. Your disabled parking placard a candle in the window. I know crips live here. Welcome You are home.
Brown love is getting the pat down but not the secondary screening
and waiting after you clear to make sure the Sikh man or
the Black woman or the hijabis behind you get through
Brown love is asking the Punjabi guy working at the starbucks knockoff
if all the tea sizes are still the same price
and he says no,
it hasn’t been like that for at least four years,
but he slips you an extra tea bag without talking about it.
Brown love is the unsmiling aunty
at the disabled immigration line
anything to declare? No? No? Have a good day.
and your rice, semolina, kari karo seeds and jaggary all get through
even though they are definitely from countries
where there are insects that could eat america to the ground
Brown love is texting your cousin on whatsapp asking
if she’s ever had a hard time bringing weed tincture in her carry on
brown love is a balm
in this airport of life
where, if we can scrape up enough money
we all end up
because we all came from somewhere
and we want to go there
or we can’t go to there but we want to go to the place we went after that
where our mom still lives even though we fight
or our chosen sis is still in her rent controlled perfect apartment
where we get the luxury of things being like how we remember
we want to go to the place we used to live
and even if gentrification snatched the bakery
with the 75 cent coffee where everyone hung out all night
we can still walk the block where it was
and the thing about brown love is, nobody smiles.
nobody is friendly. nobody winks. nobody can get away with that
they’re all silently working their terrible 9 dollar an hour
food service jobs where tip jars aren’t allowed
or TSA sucks but it’s the job you can get out of the military
and nobody can get away with being outwardly loving
but we do what we can
brown love is the woman who lets your 1 pound over the 50 pound limit bag go
the angry woman who looks like your cousin
who is so tired on the american airlines customer service line
she tags your bag for checked luggage
and doesn’t say anything about a credit card, she just yells Next!
Brown love is your tired cousin who prays you all the way home
from when you get on the subway to when you land and get on another.
This is what we have
we do what we can.