LIDA HUSIK > WORD > SURVIVOR   
SURVIVOR

Every time I see an old black man I want to rub his belly for luck. It's like seeing a leprechan or a four-leaf clover- a rare sighting that could bring one good fortune.  It must be true what they say about the black man being an endangered species, because you just don't see them past around fifty-five.

A group of old black men congregates outside a barber shop in my neighborhood that's been closed for twenty-five years.  They've seen this street go from being the thriving heart of the black community, through the riots of '68, to decay and eventually rebirth as a gentrified hipster area. I think about what they must have seen and what they feel like now.  I know if I were in their place, the sight of one more cellphone toting cracker would drive me right round the bend.