We Didn’t Have To Take Our Shoes Off

She glared at a crack
on a translucent vase
that held browning orchids
trying to smile at her
with microscopic fangs.

Petals waving at her eyes
as she pulls a striped hijab over
them, guilty for having thoughts
of harming their beauty
to give to her boyfriend
across the hall –

      (she thought he had a better smile
than any orchid ever did.)

It was a sunny day
bright as a Nazi lantern
that ended with
a drizzle of concrete

that erupted in wisps of dust;
tiled floors collapsing
under her feeble flesh,

      taking her victim.

Her eyes were fixed on jeering orchids
before she kissed the flickering bright

and drifted into a stale gleam.

She wonders about the
bright red runners –
The ones eyang gave to her
on her seventeenth birthday, but

This morning,
they told her to
take her shoes off
before entering the building

to try and avoid muddy carpets

Natasha Sondakh is an Indonesian writer studying at Northwestern University. Her poetry has been published on defineWhat Is A Woman?, and Beautiful Losers – as their issue’s featured author – as well as recognized nationally by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She is currently working with Math Paper Press for a forthcoming poetry anthology.

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1 Response to We Didn’t Have To Take Our Shoes Off

  1. I like the way this poet takes the specific experience and creates an atmosphere readers recognize instantly their own particular lenses, that universal quality of disappointment, disillusionment, oppression, rejection. Well done.

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