by Leo D. Martinez
Content warnings: transphobia, explicit and sexual language
Go into Morningside Park and see the Big Rock.
Lost in your thoughts and thinking that you’re alone in this world, Harlem transforms into a jungle: buildings standing tall against cold winds, their nervous systems glowing ice-blue through the windows; cars traveling down rivers of roads, their headlights guiding them home to rest. The flashing-red stoplight above warns you to stop and give reverence to the crossroad — dropping Jolly Ranchers and pennies on the corner and saying a prayer for protection — before walking into the park.
Metallic trees, dead grass, puddles inside potholes don’t welcome you. Out of an overfilled trash can, a rat jumps, and trapped in its teeth is an eyeball that pierces your psyche.
The Big Rock, on top of a high hill, stabs the waxing moon.