we wear maps on our heads
tight braids coiled into isles and continents
against our scalps, birthmarks and scars
marking city blocks like melanistic push pins.
here, in that spot behind your ear
is the French café on Amsterdam Avenue
where we had polished silver and fresh cream
linen and gilded menus too big for our hands.
there, in the line of my scalp above my nape
are the streets in SoHo where we chased the sun
down cobblestone mazes and around brick parapets
burning cold orange in the January gloaming.
the lights of Times Square are stars on our faces
gold and silver freckles burning five-pointed holes
into the bone beneath. they brand us saying “you are mine
and you’ll never be happy anywhere else.”