“Mural of the Aztec Market of Tlatelolco by Diego Rivera,” “Walking by Charles Henry Alston,” and “Untitled (New York Cityscape) by Charles Henry Alston.”

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Photo by ale Bellido on Unsplash

Mural of the Aztec Market of Tlatelolco by Diego Rivera

I’ve always loved a crowded market, busy with comings and goings. In Peru, I craned my neck at the crowds of people, laughing and exchanging goods. I was zooming by in a van, but how I wished I could stop, buy an elote with large kernels to eat, and meander the stalls. I could see people bargaining, haggling over prices of brightly colored woven clothing and bags. If only I could run my fingers over the texture of the weave, feeling the lumps and bumps. I saw plush alpaca sweaters and ponchos. I imagined the softness and the price, much higher than I could afford. And then the van drove me away from the lovely little market, and I was left with my longings.

Walking by Charles Henry Alston

The woman in the front

Holds her head high

Back straight

Another carries a baby

Her face is set like granite

They march together

Like the walk to the front of the prayer line

On a hot revival night

They march with purpose

Like they know where they are going

And they’ll get what they deserve

When they arrive

Untitled (New York Cityscape) by Charles Henry Alston

Another side of New York

Comes out after dark

When the catcalls

Turn into actions:

A stranger grabbed my hand

And wouldn’t let go

Dragging me toward the alley

To do God knows what

After he insisted he could be my New York boyfriend

I broke free

Ran up the street

Hid in a CVS

Behind a security guard

Fingers clenching my purse

When my breathing calmed

I returned to the streets

Face hardened to stone

Eyes darting to each shadow

As I trudged my way home

About the Author

Ammanda Moore

Ammanda Selethia Moore is a non-binary poet and writer who also teaches English at Norco College. Their poetry has been published in Synchronized Chaos, Literary Yard, and The Journal of Radical Wonder. They live with their partner in sunny southern California. Follow their exploits @prof.ammanda on Instagram.