Gentrification: First Blush*

Squatting in the boarded-up brownstone
of your fin-de-siécle love, in moieties
of decay and splendor, sophistication,
world-weariness and fashionable despair,
I say it’s not habitation but rather my art
when they come to evict us, so I call out
“Don’t come in, I am painting a nude model.”
My brush hairs stroke your intimate SoHo,
my fingertips chalk your pastel breasts.

*Previously published at Contemporary American Voices,
Lisa Zaran, editor,

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