The following poem is based on a video call conversation I had reconnecting with two African-American friends.

Please note that their names have been changed out of respect for their privacy. One of them took the image at a fun fair in New Jersey last summer. – Michael Rene Meixner

Angel tells me all about
Her new life
Her new hopes
Her new debts
Says she doesn’t believe
In the american dream
Says she believes in work
And luck And her having to work harder
Than people who look
Nothing like her

Reggie says
He’s fed up
With working a 9-to-5-er
And a night shift
In between vocal lessons
Picking up his siblings
And taking his father to hospital
Reggie told me
Once he has time
To race his mind into bed
He sleeps like the pills
He needs to fall