Erica Dawson
When the City Calls Me Names

I holler back, and the whore on spikes—
You know you want it—knows, and all
The houses in the skyline’s dykes
Sit there, despondent, and the scrawl

Of dawn that doesn’t wake with fall-
ing stars and coal-dark skies still burns.
And the harbor speaks. And shadows crawl.
And though the harbor’s big lip turns

Downward with the dock’s hard U, returned
From the clouds, Orion shows as one
Big smile, but no one stops concerned
When the whore calls out, You don’t want none?

And nigger bitch blares like a gun
Misfired right on target, wide
But tight. Let me hold it, load it, run.
Eels ride the slick. Night’s quick on the tide.


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