And I was like,
but ain’t that shit cannibalism?
Ain’t that your cousin in some retrospect?
I should be more empathetic to hot wing homie,
flying off with fam drenched in Frank’s Red Hot cloaked all over its claws.
I might be witnessing a long-distance funeral;
I recognize that we need physical evidence in order to personalize our grief.
I walk into Whole Foods and think
was ripped out of the ground
to make room for this poultry section.
Government done stole somebody’s livelihood,
then gave them a job,
as a cashier,
in the store
of the home
they ripped from them from.
Maybe that seagull was onto its way to a memorial.
Maybe he knows, and doesn’t plan to eat cousin Hector in Red Hot.
Maybe Hot Wing Homie has a shrine on the corner of a Wing Stop
where he’s actively protesting Lemon Peppers and we can’t hear him
because the crunch from crispy skins drowns him out.
I am standing in front of a Telco in the neighborhood that raised me
but can no longer afford.
A Chinese Buffet, into a Starbucks.
The wedding boutique, is a Taco Bell.
I hear a Jamaican woman in the distance proclaim to a customer
“We ran out of oxtail,”
and I pray for more of those grievances.
As I turn the corner,
I peep Hot Wing Homie hiding behind a 2010 Range Rover,
piercing his claws into his cousin.
Tearin’ that wing up,
Franks Red Hot smeared across the beak and I say,
Damn, sometimes it be cannibalism.
Khadjiah Johnson is an Afro-Caribbean American poet, producer and comedian from Brooklyn, NY. You can see more of her work in The American Bystander, Sakura Review, Widget LOL, and more. She’s a Periplus Fellowship finalist, her poetic comedy “Shady Shepherd Psalm” was nominated for the 2019 Best of Net Anthology by Emrys Journal, and she currently serves as a Contributing Writer for Black Nerd Problems and Crunchyroll. You can also catch a couple of Khadjiah’s produced pieces on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.