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The most absurd thing about this city is that the taco trucks are wedged between the coast and the highway

There’s orange oil on my thumb, 
viscous beefy consumé, 
I’m battling the wind for 
my paper napkins and 
my paper bag and 
anything that isn’t weighed down 
by the food that shrinks 
with every bite, 

someone’s cotton candy vape 
mingles with the 
stench of beached seaweed and 
birdshit and 
cigarettes and 
birria and 
I want to retch, 
I want to heave 
like the waves of the Long Island Sound 
in front of me, 
like the roar of the highway against my back, 

everyone else is here with their family 
on one of those foldable camp chairs, 
that are really for soccer games and cookouts, 
the ones that 
can only exist 
in the stratosphere of sweating 
cans of Coors Light and Red Sox caps, 
while the sad grass makes smushed red impressions 
on the backs of my slick thighs 
and the sun pities down on me, chairless and alone 

I’m right here and I’m so far away 
so I suck on the lime and 
look at the steamship coming in and 
try to guess how many people 
on board it want to vomit 
right now, 
how many bodies 
on that ship 
can bear the delight and 
the disgust of
this place like I can.

Food trucks in Long Wharf. Photography by Tashroom Ahsan.

—Lucy TonThat

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