I75 Downtown, Cincinnati

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Property boundaries overlaid with satellite imagery. Data Source: CAGIS (Cincinnati Area Geographic Information System) 2022

A bundle of highway ramps snake and weave like veins
cut through the graded dirt. Three city blocks, measured by
the platt maps that outline a history of property lines
and every row house, social hall, and corner deli which once stood here.

Parcels of prosperity for Southern immigrants, they float above
the freeway, like ghosts haunting the land that belonged
to Black families, taken by government officials,
just one mile across the Ohio into freedom.

Welcome home to your back garden: a barren median,
your church, a bent guard rail, your playground:
asphalt divided by white dashed lines. A neighborhood
razed in the name of breathing air and dollars into the dense urban grid.

Today, an often clogged artery, lined with Semis
delivering vats of light beer, processed chicken,
and the American Dream to anyone still asleep.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN