Shopping carts discarded on lawns
beached like turtles immobile
on their backs in the sand
delineated “bad” neighborhoods in our new city.
We were a thee shopping cart neighborhood
which improved over the years as the city sprawled.
Here was where I learned
not to walk home, alone after dark
or to cross the street if I saw a man
“Do you know that that's called?”
my mother asked, urgently.
The word repeats itself
every time I see a shopping cart,
sinsiter in a dark alley
or a stranger in my periphery
as I walk home alone at night quickening
my steps until I am almost