featured photo by Talitha May
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Where They Gather
They gather here in Bothell
Near where the old Safeway used to be;
The concrete broken and ground away,
Now an overgrown corner lot
Of yellowed grasses and overflow parking,
Just a stone’s throw from the new,
The multi-uses and McMenamins;
And yet they gather here.
Blackish purple in shifting light
Thrown off double-paned windows;
Alarms and calls as they dance mid-air,
This Murder in Bothell,
Wandering a route along the Landing.
Crapping on an old fruit stand
Struggling to survive, ten blocks down,
Casualty to Instacart and Whole Foods.
Crapping on the bikini barista stand,
Subtly hidden, eight blocks down.
Crapping upon Farm-to-Table de jour,
An historic Victorian stripped of history,
Crowded and loud, two blocks down.
Below their flight swirls considered, modish choices,
Retro cool, green washed cars
Vomiting modish passengers,
Who, in that desperate scintilla
When their phones aren’t in use,
See movement reflected in dark screens,
Yet seldom look up.
For they no longer wander,
Having only direction.
And now they gather here,
To follow the dawn rendering truck
As its bed heaves with restaurant cast offs.
To discretely kick trash from easy view,
Ground to the earth,
Dripped, dropped, and forgotten.
Still, in the dusk they gather,
Having wandered back
To the old Safeway in hundreds,
Magnificent and defiant
Gleaners of the consumptive world below;
And as I walk from one pub to another—
For there are no bars in Bothell—
One glides, as a whisper felt,
Soft and cold,
Against the hairs of earlobes,
Toward the roof of a car,
Landing in shrill, scraping delight.
Have what you will below,
It seemed to say,
Still we shall gather here.
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Veteran, Vegan, Forklift Driver, Adjunct. Selyf Davis lives in the Pacific Northwest and has been published in Essays in Philosophy and Journal of Critical Animal Studies.