October, Miami

Annik Adey-Babinski

Since I’ve moved to America
I find myself more often thinking 
I’d like to be rich
but what I mean is
I’d like to feel safe I’d like to relax
I know it’s not my business
but when you wake me up
at 3 am yelling at the cops
and again at 5 am banging 
on your apartment door downstairs
and when under my window 
I hear your girlfriend
ask you where her daughter is
and why you’ve been watching
porn with the four-year-old
I start to wonder if it isn’t
because I’ve had a few beers 
I can relax about the yelling
downstairs and the door slamming
repeatedly but then there are still
the cockroaches on the stove
the sink the counter the walls 
the bathroom my toothbrush 
the utensils the plates and cups
in the fridge on the cutting board
I burn them when I can 
but mostly now I ignore them
like the sounds below
I try not to think about living 
in this mean city
it is a hard life here if you aren’t rich
knowing most everyone else
lives month to month
mouth to mouth we resuscitate each other
working nights without childcare
hoping your gas doesn’t run out
knowing it’s a bad sign
that the whole building smells 
like mold and there is that leak 
from the bathroom above
held in only by the many layers
of paint when I poke the wall
it bounces like a balloon
no doubt driving the roaches
insane in my shirts in my books
in my bags in my shoes 
termites leaving their jewel-peppered wings 
piled in my underwear drawer
their waste on the windowsill
the one that dented so easily 
because it had been eaten from inside
like you 
treating your daughter cartoon-like 
beating her mother
while the building cowers 
behind locks at your rage
I imagine you’ll shoot us dead 
in our beds or burn the whole
place in the early morning
how easy it would be
I thought I might try it too
I thought we’d only leave 
a small smudge on the concrete
like salt rust on the bottom of a car