Hmong Hip Hop Festival, Minneapolis, 2009

In Progress         

Wind off the Hudson—
I'm pushing my way through. 
New York. 1959. I'm Nikki, running back

from drama at the 92nd Street Y
where I played Mary, the mean girl
who outs the lesbians who run

her boarding school. I'd like to run
this country—be president, but a girl
can't do that, nor a Jew, running

past Sam's and Oscar's,
whitefish with gold scales in the cold
counters. Rare days, it's the Good Earth,

the dark and duck, and quiet
waiters lifting the domes
on gravies we can only taste, can't 

see. How did I come to be
here in this St. Paul loft, packing, winnowing
poetry, getting ready to travel, hankering

for the ocean? Aquarius, genius, laboring
under Orion. I sleep till noon. Six PM
I retouch photos of the Hmong hip hop festival 

with Iphoto, look forward to showing them
to Kris and Cha Lor.

—Monica Raymond, Cambridge, MA