Thinking of Gwendolyn Brooks’s, We Real Cool

We rode the New York City subway cars alone
when we were fourteen. We smoked at the courthouse

and at the school. We went to Saint Ann’s,
ordered Kamikazes at Empire Szechuan,

drank 40’s at UTB* before Dumbo was more
than an a character created by Disney.

And if it was a sunny day we sat
on promenade, on its benches

with their deep green cracked paint,
applying dark red L’oreal lipstick

We sat with best friends and boyfriends.
We sat and stared at the east river

when the twin towers were still. The buildings that took
snap shots of everything we did, for as long as they could.

* (UTB: under the Brooklyn bridge).