The Last Ten Tenants

The last ten tenants lined up on a purgatory field with sweaty palms and frosty feet because they were floated here into this field as part of a small unseen part of their lease, moving them against their will, which they eventually accepted.

And I see strangers mimic other strangers, clued in the supposeda’s, well versed in the dark of eye contact avoidance rituals and feigned all-consuming cell phone business, pretending to be just looking, happening to see but not watching when you notice us pointing and laughing at you, but we are clearly pointing and laughing at something else entirely and you have nothing to do with it, of course, uninvolved, the way we interact with commercials and pretend they don’t dig in, and the last ten tenants reading, murmuring, excerpts from “their” journals, though not written by them, a sort of passive narrator describing their lives, and it shows in their tones when they read it out loud, wary and confused, uncomfortable, pausing over unfamiliar mechanics and cutting words, describing things in a way they would not choose to share publicly or even confidently, using words like soul-mate, gratitude, psychologist says, important friendship, incarcerated brother and a queer choice of saying Brooklyn, and not just Bed-Stuy, and there, the young grocery store clerk, the newly-promoted account specialist, the receptionist who cannot cook and always orders out, the newly-married, the newly-not-young family holding their breath underwater while the man goes through tech school to learn how to make bread and win it too, the unpromised, the unfettered, the never disappointed, the forced limited coding focused on survival and not some mystical left-handed transcendence; a privileged undertaking, the last step before misanthropy for the privileged suburban-raised white kid, and the last ten tenants continue their sĂ©ance as we open up the box labeled board games, and pull out Settlers of Catan, drink soda from a glass with ice in it, the minute after we drag in the furniture.

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