Story Made from Small White Houses

By Arja Kumar

we will both know
you and i
both brown arms after the fire.

we wanted to save it all
the breaths, honey
moons, siestas in small white houses
we wanted to keep it, hide it all in our mouths
in those younger days,
we ran into the hot streets, barefoot,
pulled up all of the earth, tried to fit
it all in our pockets, tried to stuff
each other in our rucksacks, saying
i wanna take you to heaven.

the women kept singing amen amen amen,
and the wild horses came to warn us before
we chided them with our pots and pans.

you started calling me by your mother’s name,
sitting on the floor of the shower,
waking up with less teeth,
listening to
the night throb
of the laundry machine
that reassured another hour.

our baby
ran out of gasoline.

i was born in the snow
hair in my mouth
tangling the black birds back,
biting my tongue
to a thick ice.

now silver fish wading in puddles
of black night,
the drought came too soon,
our skin started hanging
like the crescent point of the moon.
the moles on arms made constellations,
our pulse became a dying sun,
the dishwasher got rusty and
god teased our lungs.

back then we would want
the snow to come faster.
the dishes were left in the sink
all that dirty water, letters unopened,
the rain kept falling on top of the snow.

the white moths flew into our mouths,
left holes in our tongue,
made a nest inside eye sockets,
and ate our lungs.


Arja Kumar is a human, writer, and nineteen-year-old college student from Illinois. Her work has appeared in literary magazines including KAIROS, Sweet Tree Review, Literary Orphans, Blink-Ink, and Bop Dead City. When she is not writing, she likes to cook, paint, and stargaze.


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