Poetry & Prose

oak grove 포티노 로즈

Art by Cecilia Orozco

where the north meets downtown and jp,
where my family went to comfort my ill grandparents
for the entirety of my childhood.
we walked two minutes down the street
like a brood of ducklings
to board the 131 to oak grove,
where we relished in the old vehicle’s scent
while our feet crunched the floor’s debris
until we arrived at the busway along the back side.
we danced toward the platforms,
stepped inside the gray-capped rust bucket,
and finally sat in those carpet-lined seats.
around twenty minutes later,
my father would grasp my hand as we heard
“tufts medicahl centah, tufts medicahl!
daahs will open to yah right”

now it’s just a recording.
they now stop at “assembly,”
the consumer’s heavenly metropolis.
or where, after my high school track meets,
when my best friend and i
would finish our events and head home,
our white friends would always ask
“will you guys be safe?”
“uh, yeah, why?”
anyways, we always ran across malcolm x
to order beef handpies for $2 before the ride home
until the state championships my junior year
when the only option left was domino’s.
i love me some jalepeño bacon cheesy bread
but those damn gentrifiers.
fast forward to the present
there’s a new platform for the haverhill line,
and the 131 still waits for me in the back lot.
or i can unlock my phone and ask,
“dad, could you pick me up from the station?”
he knows exactly where to go.
and i don’t take it for granted.