Sallie walked in this place

Past the beautiful gardens

Past the lovely cafes

Filled with flowers so sweet and nice

That you could drown in their scent

Past the aesthetic fairy lights looming above

That she would eventually take a picture of

And put a filter over

And post on Instagram

Sallie walked past the Starbucks

And ordered a pumpkin spice latte

Sipping it as she strutted down the sidewalk

Cup in hand

She gawked at the macaroon shops

At the cute clothes

From Victoria’s Secret

At the new makeup samples from Sephora

At the windows filled with fidget spinners and lollipops

Sallie walked past the walls people took pictures in front of

Spray painted with cute art

Instead of graffiti

The streets were filled with white

And everything was pristine clean

Everything was pretty

From the upscale restaurants selling kale smoothies

To the fancy apartments starting at $10,000 for rent

And Sallie thought this place was wonderful

Sallie walked in this place unaware

Unaware of the silent evil

Brewing in construction sites and development projects

Unaware of the home

That was no longer the home

Of the local people who lived here

Unaware of the forced migration

To make room

For white hipsters in flannels and thick-rimmed glasses

Sallie walked in this place oblivious

Oblivious to the extinction of a culture

That was now replaced by another

If Starbucks counts as a culture

Oblivious to the increase in housing prices

To line the pocketbooks of the rich

And keep the poor at the margins

Oblivious to the fact

That pretty does not equate to good

An onlooker watched saddened

That she kind of liked it here too

That this was inevitable

That the opposite would lead to stagnation

And more poverty

That the people strolling here were ignorant to it all

And so she vowed

Not to be like them

Not to be like Sallie

So when she walked in this place

She would be aware

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.