after Delana R. A. Dameron

I want to love this city. The street I grew up on where
three men brown as church pews roll in dirt as cops
suffocate their wistful wrists, dogs sniffing through the
newly built house that’s since been boarded up. The corner
store where Ramey and Stalcup meet, where I first
smoked weed with a young boy in orange shoes who now rocks
an orange jumpsuit. The brown sauce-smothered pork chops
at Stormie Monday’s that fill your tummy til you feel
a kind of heaven. I want this city to be loved for downtown
& eastwood equally. When I went to university up the street
they told me not to drive past the train tracks cause it’s
sketchy over there. Like being thrust into whiteness isn’t sketchy
enough. Like wax-dripping candles at Dunbar High vigils aren’t
just as pretty as the Christmas parade of lights on 7th street.
I hate to love this city. Where the stop sign on Berry has “6”
painted under “Stop” so you know what hood it is.
Where I first felt love. Like true, true love
breathing on the side of my neck on the littest of school nights
from a boy who these days pushes daisies. Damn, I love this city.
If you lay on the wood and rusted rail where southside
and the burbs meet long enough you hear church ladies humming

NIA KB [they/them] is a Black queer nonbinary poet, editor, and educator currently based in Austin, TX. They’ve received fellowships from Texas Christian University, Lambda Literary, The Hurston/Wright Foundation, and UTSA’s African American Literatures and Cultures Institute. Their poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Matador Review, Sappho’s Torque, Vagabond City Lit, Rising Phoenix Review, Foglifter Press, The Shade Journal, and elsewhere. When they’re not blessing stages or writing pages, they serve as a Teaching Artist for the Austin Library Foundation, Curator and Host of ATX Interfaces, Assistant Editor for Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Associate Poetry Editor for fields Magazine, and proud member of Lenguas Loc@s Writers Collective. If you got this far, follow them on the interwebs [at] nia_kb.