portrait of a slumlord
from What I Will Tell My Jewish Kids by Kevin Coval
the slumlord is real.
a short man pulls into the affordable housing complex
his company built on greased government contracts.
row-homes. non-descript. grey, cheap looking. everything
in the area is tired. (except) the slumlord
drives a jew canoe, in the winter
wears fur. a diamond pinky ring.
the slumlord could be over-
taken by a pack of fat fifth graders
but at the end of a chain link leash
a german shepard! named princess.
there is a small revolver in his waist belt
a sawed-off golf club beneath the driver’s seat.
the money is green. the renter’s Black.
the slumlord has a boat in Lake Winnipesaukee.
in a generation, the slumlord will not collect rent
himself. maybe send a son-in-law, a Mexican.
the slumlord gives to his synagogue, aipac, reagan’s
second term, directly to the idf. this isn’t considered terror-
ism. the slumlord hates Arabs, but has a Persian cat
who sits on his lap watching law & order.
the slumlord is napoleon short. the slumlord is my grandma’s
second husband. she is said to have married well.
the slumlord is a stupid man no one wants
to sit next to at dinner. the slum is israel
the slumlord is alive.