My House Chokes on Smoke


I know a house that chokes on smoke
from all the flatbread my grandma cooks.
It is a four tiered wedding cake decorated with wet laundry.
Outside are garden greens; you’re trailing through a tropical forest.
A house filled to the brim like a cup of mineral water your
chemistry teacher uses to explain surface tension.
Yet that doesn’t do justice to the attention I unwillingly receive
being the foreign elephant in the room,
wearing jeans in a house clothed in cotton pants.
Bordered between the air behind us and the tip of a motorcycle seat we
skate on the shaky streets collapsing; everyone walks on tightropes.
We blur by mango carts and inhale bright pinks and blues matching the
tightly twisted voltage lines turned in ribbons; a gift on every house
Twenty six pairs of feet patter on the top tier of our cake
playing on the roof with wisps of chai spilling between our steps we
hold hands as the bricks hug our exhausted bodies when we fall
Tiptoe on the ledge and the air threatens us to dive in

Ten years later my house cries in memory of my grandma,
my once playful cousins who are mature and wedded
my aunts and uncles who come by every now and then but moved out.
I know a house that chokes on smoke, tripping over its empty insides
Loneliness can do that to you and I know my house despairs
I cry for it sometimes.

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