The District

A.J. Parker

triangle town 

where you 

stub your toes 

and tip your hats 

walk down 

the paths of pavers 

and forget 

your name 

buy flowers 

at the market like 

you never saw 


pass the hours 

with watery air 

and the stench of  

the American dream 

fill the fridge 

with sunsets 

never seen and 

your last knickknacks 

cross the bridge 

to work, heart 

pounding, sit 

and smile softly.  

silver city with silver cars

that bite and chomp. 

how can a bronze girl 

not rust out here? 

with the golden thrones 

and the golden tickets. 

how can a bronze girl 

not rust out here?


A.J. Parker

I had a dream the city was on fire 

The news was on and the buildings
across the Potomac crumbled to ashes 

I thought the bridge would protect me— 

the bridge I drove every day—

but the flames kept coming 

I watched out the window, 

stories high,  

as the indestructible city  

of rules and war crimes 

burned down 

The flames kept coming 

and they kept coming and 

suddenly, I knew what 

it was like to die 

I saw the city on my face 

before the fire consumed it. 

I took a deep breath, 

like I was going underwater, 

and felt myself burn 

But then I jolted awake and
realized it wasn’t real 

No one had set the city on fire 


A.J. Parker grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, then spent some time on the East Coast trying to make up for all that water she lost. She’s won journalistic awards from the CSPA, AIPA and the NSPA. Now, she’s venturing into the literary world. Her poems have been published in Feminist Food Journal, Ink in Thirds, and more. You can follow her at @ashleyjadeparker on Instagram/Threads or at @ashleyjadeparke on X/Twitter.