Breadcrumb #277

ANNA KANDER

Your words are funhouse mirrors.
They twist and warp,
presenting distortions back at me.
I’m not sure whether to laugh
or scream.

Outside our carnival tent,
sun dries dropped sodas
and hot dog buns.
Small birds peck crumbs
and seem happy.

Inside, darkness swallows
our maze of glass
like a python constricting.
Shatter, serpent!
Cut yourself to pieces.

• • •

Breadcrumb #276

KAILEY TEDESCO

I’ve long forgotten how to storm
a cup of oolong,
let alone how to read the leaves –

Years ago, I would’ve allowed you
to start the kettle & throw seed
to the birds. For moments

the sunflower husks form the shape
of your mouth peeled free & open
at the very end.

Now on television, a ballet
of yous fans in & out, one you
is wearing red lips while the other

cries into your knees. You wore
renaissance green in the spotlight,
but now the sun of my awareness

has departed & all I can see
is greyed over by the dust
carved beautifully

around your wrists.

• • •

Breadcrumb #274

RADHIKA MENON

That tangy, burnt stench hangs in the air
on the subway, on the street.
It’s everywhere I go:
Clinging to the man with the hat, on that girl’s jacket.
The smell is so familiar, so intoxicating.
It’s you.

Every single time, amidst the smoke
— inhaled and exhaled —
I’m transported.
To your chest, where I stole moments of respite.
To your sweater, which I stole in the dead of winter.
To you. The one that stole my eyes and my soul and my heart so many lifetimes ago.

There are ones that came after, others in these eight years since we met.
Others that also sparked and danced and played with fire.
I used to hate it,
that thick smog that announced your entrance before you’re in the room.
But one whiff now, and we’re back in college.
Back to the comfort of your bed where I’d drink in your scent.
Back to the way our lips would meet — furiously, clandestinely.
Back to you and me, back to us.

It’s a familiar sight: a cigarette dangling from the fingers of passerby,
from the corner of their mouths.
You weren’t the only one to light the match, you won’t be the last,
but you were my first.
You ignited me, opened me up, persuaded that fire to spread in my bones.
Then you left me to burn.

• • •

Breadcrumb #273

ANIKA CZANDER

O terrible two
You tyrant of tardiness
Forever delayed
Forever held
Momentarily
By the trains dispatcher
Sardined subway
At 7:49 am
A boner is pressed
Against my leg

We clamor inside
To fill you up
Though two may
Be three
And sometimes
One

Take me to my lover
My classes
My bars
Transport me, my two
By your
Tumultuous tumble
Your tenured track

Frigid silver skeleton
Stand clear
For the closing
Doors
Hark! Another train
Close behind
I repeat
There is another train close behind!
We disregard that which you
Speak, two train

Your car
Is a journey
Thrashed
With unforgiving
Air conditioning

• • •