Poetry & Prose

rob (robert on peace street)

Art by Hami Trinh

hi my name is hami and today a man came up to me asking me if i was mixed. already some things are lost in translation but no, i’m not, i was born here. he tells me he’s cherokee and a bit more about race. after a minute he comes back around the bus stop and tells me he served in vietnam, showing me his military id, my name’s robert. oh, i’m vietnamese! so you are mixed, you and i, oh, i guess so, if you put it like that. how long you been here? 18 years—wait, that’s what you mean right? haha. a friend of his comes over, i give the two the cash i had. you grillin’ anything for the fourth of july? no haha, i have work. more light conversation and his friend leans in for a hug, god bless you, young, beautiful woman. he leaves and it’s just robert and i again. he tells me the street he’s on. they call me rob, my name’s hami—but you can call me anything else if that’s too hard—no, i got enough respect for you, ‘m telling you a bit of my life like you. rob asks me if i got a pen—i can tell you now, if you ever go to a psychiatric hospital with other adults, most people aren’t really that different. somewhere in between my hat comes off, and he’s joking about how much more hair i have than him. i wanna ask you how you’ll be, stuff like that, i’m sorry robert, i don’t have any pen or paper with me. i’ll be on this street, you’re a young gorgeous woman, you know that? haha, thank you. he holds out his hand and i shake it, though he pulls it up to kiss in between incoherent words. you got lip gloss on? no haha (fuck.) oh that’s my bus, it was nice to meet you. god bless you, have a good day, take care robert. after a few stops, a woman whose eyes i could feel cracks a joke, telling me to shut up for being so loud, haha. stop requested. y’all have a good one! thank you! hi, can i get a three-piece chicken supreme dinner for here? yes, with sweet tea and fries, thank you. god bless the person that gave me two extra pieces. two of the guys sitting behind me are talking about college, and i can’t even start thinking about my path right now. there’s something about being in the world just like this, on and on and on, saying hello and goodbye to people every day.