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José Enrique Medina


I’m thirsty for my old house, where the rain used to come
in through the popcorn ceiling, drip on the floorboards

and make them curl like eyelashes. I’m thirsty for the stink
of my brother’s feet, and the way I took off my shoes


and the stink of my feet rose up like snakes and bit back
the little worms of his stink, until my brother ran 

out of the room yelling, “Gross,” and I rolled on the bed laughing.
I’m hungry for my mother’s sandwiches, so delicious

my fingers trembled as I chewed, making me hungrier for more.
I’m hungry for the way the moon turned my backyard


into the hangman’s playground, shadows of laundry poles, 
a silver gallows on the night I got raped,


and I arrived home thinking, I’m not safe anywhere,
there’s nowhere I can hide, not even here,


and climbed the rickety old backstairs to my room, praying,

Please, rotten wood and rusty nails, don’t squeak so much,


I don’t want that man to hear me. Give me, today,
free passage to my bed.

José Enrique Medina earned his BA in English from Cornell University. He writes poems, flash fiction, and short stories. His work has appeared in Best Microfiction 2019 AnthologyThe Los Angeles ReviewRattle, and many other publications. He is a Voices of Our Nation (VONA) fellow.

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