Albany Park

I can’t afford to leave here.
Kids ride bikes on the sidewalk
And uncles play poker in the garages.
A junk truck rattles up the alley
Like a plywood and rust dragon
Gobbling up scrap metal.
Songs drift over Kedzie Avenue:
A hymn from the Philippines
Persian love songs from lilac gardens
A marching anthem from El Salvador.
We all belong here
Like the trees by the river
Native oak
Swedish linden
Russian olive
Japanese maple
Seeds dropped in from everywhere
By the Chicago wind.
I have made my home here
In a pumpkin-colored kitchen
Behind yellow brick walls
Outlasting another Depression
I can afford to stay here
In Albany Park.