Cursed Soil

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By Cayleigh Baillargeon
Last time I was in Vegas 
was a month after the route 91 shooting. 
There were more cops than people
more crosses than tourists
more guns than buffets.

Meandering past the Mandalay, 
I caught glimpses of the Statue of Liberty.
I happened to be in New York the day Jam Master Jay died, 
grown folk with ghetto blasters gathering in groups
crying along to classic cuts, wondering “who the fuck?”
another personal stab to a state 
still in shock.

Back on the strip, All the pigs with extra pistols
were supposed to make me feel 
safe, but I decided to go back to my room
to where the parking lot pot dealer will whistle 
if there’s danger.

I was grateful Vegas was more tasteful than Boston 
right after that Marathon Monday, 
AK-47s hung around every badge’s neck like
participation medals.

I always stay at a motel
Where Tropicana and Koval meet 
where Tupac got shot. 
He died six days later.
It’s just coincidence I stay there
His murder coverage is one of my clearest childhood memories.

On stolen land
There isn’t a single spot to stand
where someone hasn’t been

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