We'll Always Have Flushing

Jenna Le

We’ll always have flushing
toilets, hot running water,
refrigerators cluttered
with takeout cartons, gushing
blue stovetop flames
on which each can prepare
his little after-dinner share
of tea, so be ashamed.

We’ll always have flushing
cheeks, arteries plumped by blood
whose workman rhythms thud
in our ears when we’re pushing
strollers down the fresh fruit
aisle and sniff out a lime
whose acid smell reminds
us of us, so be mute.

We’ll always have Flushing,
Queens, where we lived in sin
when we were twenty-one
and we were always brushing
past my stern landlord Mel
as he herded his demure
daughters to church on clear
mornings, so be well.

Emily Gilbert