We used to lay together on days so hot the hydrants spewed water with firefighter’s blessings and I’d throw off all but my big girl’s panties and feel your holy brown stone on my bare stomach as you cooed the hum of air conditioning units into my soul
“Do you mind?” I’d ask, smothering you with chalk till you breathed pink dust and spoke in hopscotch. And the rain would wash it all away
We sat together on the edge of the century and watched the millennia change in a sky high explosion of human life with the entire borough counting down from a billion like a never ending rocket ship of immemorial beginnings and I stood in the flower pot to get a better look at eternity and its infinite fireworks
And the day I realized Manhattan is an island and it was bleeding and I climbed on top of you to see if the towers were really gone and it was so dusty up there you shooed me back down and I stayed in my room for four days willing everything to rise from the ground and you whispered in my ear “I’m still standing” and that made me feel sick but I forgave you
Brooklyn summers taste like you and your double Dutch daydreaming with the Fifth Avenue Boys and free barbecue at block parties where old men bring out older telescopes to stop children from scootering across their toes and show them Neptune and show them Pluto and show them how to POP POP POP their thumb in their cheek like a water droplet, like the dew on your plants which dried up and blew away because I could never remember to water them. (Sorry.)
Those were the popsicle days but they melted into late night kisses and cigarette butts and all my boom box babies went off to college and then the other night I got so sad thinking about my place in time and space until I remembered you’re imprinted on my ass from when I fell down every single one of your stairs and onto my back so that the blood was at first like the Nile and then like the Atlantic and now like an ugly little scar, and I felt happy to be a part of something.
Oh, you’ve given me bruises and slugs and painful cell phone pacing but you’re more my mother than my mother, cause it’s the cool of your 100-year-old cement that used to incubate my heart and now calms my bones. And I hope that the wash-off sidewalk paint I painted your first step blue with never does wash-off but stays there forever and ever like a mark of me your bastard daughter who loves you out of need out of compassion out of belonging, because I, I live in you, and you, you are my stoop.
(Stoop Dreams was previously published in Bop Dead City)