Once upon a time, early 1980s, 

the e dropped off of human.

Big cars, big incomes for the rich, 

small comfort for the poor.

That’s when cities changed:


Backless urban benches, armrests

running down dead-center; arty

perches made of unresponsive 

cold-retaining stone. Can’t lie

or even sit for long on those.


Bike racks do double duty

blocking sleepers off of sidewalks.

Blue-lit toilets make it hard to 

find a vein; pink exposes

acne to disgrace teen thugs.

All: white wash for tags.


Birds are felons, too, but thanks to

po-mo spikes in trees they’re kept 

from crapping on parked cars. 

Like diapers, phones, and coffee pods, 

this storied e is odor-free, disposable.


Jill Dery has published stories in Bellingham Review, Fourteen Hills, and others; she’s published poetry in Antiphon, Broad Street, Bracken, ELJ, Temenos, Noctua, and others, with poems forthcoming in Cape Rock and pacific Review. Her MFA is from UC Irvine. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she currently lives in Anchorage.