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Left Foot, 
Right Foot

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by Revathi V. Machan

Revathi (she/her) is a first year Master of City Planning student concentrating in Housing, Community, and Economic Development. Prior to coming to Penn, she studied landscape design and environmental policy. Currently she is exploring the intersection of data and
design to drive connection between communities through human-centered infrastructure and greener public spaces. When not lost between lines of code and/or plans, you can find her working on tattoo commissions, upcycling her clothes (or wrecking them – depending on your perspective), and exploring new places in the city.

Excuse me sir!
Tell me which way is home please
To the left, nothing but white concrete barricades
To the right, plains of black asphalt


Amma says when she was young, the world was in color.
Nana tells me about the trees that grew where the black plains live now.


I look ahead and I see,
Children playing hopscotch in the street


But in a step, in a breath, its gone.
A mirage of memories and morning dew,
Sliced through with the headlights of the 6am rush


Excuse me ma’am!
Tell me which way is home please.


Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.


Amma said this was the safe sidewalk,
Nana said dont stray.
They said that the trees made it bumpy
and people forgot where their trashcans were,
but that it’s ok

I look ahead and I see
A dandelion grown through a crack in the street


But in a step, in a breath, Im gone.
Left to live on as a mirage of memories and dandelion seeds
Sliced through with the grill of a truck.


Amma and Nana!
Tell me which way is home

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