The Brother Who Wore Nice Suits at the N-Judah Stop

I used to see him
Waiting for the
Street car in the

A black brother
With a kind of
Stocky build

He wore thick dark
Shades that sat
Gently on the bridge
Of his thick nose and
His thick lips never moved
As he waited for the N-Judah

And I’d wait for him
To say something as the
Thick fog inched towards
Us followed by the sound
Of the streetcar grinding into
The ground

But he said
Nothing and I didn’t
Either and we got on
The streetcar going where
We needed to go

And I saw him morning
After morning, waiting
For that street car

I always liked
His suits

He always wore
A black or brown
One in a simple elegance

And he walked
With a style and
Dignity that said
He belonged

(Even though there wasn’t
A lot of black folks in the neighborhood)

And I’d look at
Him and think,
Now that’s a sharp brother

I eventually moved
Out of the neighborhood

And I didn’t
Think about
The brother

But I returned
10 years later, just
Passing through

I was coming out
Of a coffee shop
When I saw him

The brother with
The sharp suit
Walking towards me

Same thick shades,
This time wearing
A navy blue suit

I looked at him
And wanted to say,

Hey brother, it’s good
To see you. It’s good to
See that they haven’t evicted
You. It’s good to see you
Wearing your suit because
Seeing you is a special occasion,
It shows that the neighborhood
Hasn’t lost its class

The brother walked
Nice and slow, passing
Me by

I said

I mean,
Why ruin
A beautiful


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