How Much

Can I ask you a question?, one of them said.
How much was that coffee?

(bathroom, kitchen, destroyed by landlord
the bodega on the corner,
sold three months ago

new paint, two hundred dollars
added to the monthly rent,
families moved to Brownsville to get shot
grocery stores denying foodstamps as
organic vegetable juice stocks the shelves

lump sums running out into
homeless shelters as
the state funnels money into
other school districts
and history textbooks mildew
into crumpled piles and security guards
and dropouts like flies in light fixtures

natives moved into new apartments,
but when the rent jumps, families are shed
like the overgrown weeds now trimmed
in community parks
or painted over like the lost graffiti tags
of the lost generations or:)
seven dollars and some tax

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