We are consigned to hoods
The only home we know,
Beatdown, true, familiar.

Grandmothers sit near windows,
Watch over their lively broods,
Over basketball games on parking yards,

Pickup baseball set on back alleys,
Until some window shatters–
This is where we live and die.

Sunday mornings streets turn quiet
The reverend delivers gospel to
Men on their best behavior
And aunts in their best Sunday hats
The church is where all are taxed.

Children bundled up Monday to Friday
In yellow buses heading to the highway
Their parents apprehensive but hopeful
Exile in Babylon helps to reveal books,
Demystifies the minds behind the masks.