Word on the street


Photo: Alizah Salario
By A.W. Strouse

CASH ONLY

I, too, have mistaken “Bi Bim Bap”

for an Ella Fitzgerald standard

my racism neither historical

nor purely psychological

but some admixture of self

upon self-same duplicity

like this found, hand-made sign

adorning the ATM shelter:

PLEASE PARDON OUR APPEARNCE

WE ARE UNDERGOING IMPROVMENTS

TO IMPROVE OUR APPEARNCE

thus melting breasts of adamant

in the sweetness of love

I withdraw enough cash

for the bill

and the tip.

A.W. Strouse teaches medieval literature at the New School. He is the author of “Transfer Queen,” a collection of poetry about his love of the subway.