The Japanese House, Effie Jia

They pick marrow from their teeth 

With calloused fingers and fish bones 

Outside because the sweet night air and smoke from the street vendor’s tawa

Is only slightly more delicious than warm skin

More palatable than newsprint with their daughters’ names

Branded like cattle before Eid

Recounting forgotten horrors from nights where the monsoon whispered its impending arrival

But the Rakkhosh’s canines are clean 

Its talons are free from sinews and foul play

Yet here were husks more pungent than dried fish

Sore flesh puckered

With small flies drawn by blooming carrion flowers

Visible only by moonlight and prayer

While old sandals remain discarded at the foot of a bed 

Who knew such a small space could smell like musk and mothballs? 

With not even a wayward waft of cardamom as respite

And still we fail to take notice when

Silken promises on worn down bedsheets are broken

Stained with salt and oil

While their ears still ring with bated breath

With wolf howls and mosquitos traversing too closely 

Blood wasn’t just exported that night

It was stolen

But no one could see it because it looked like the rust

That decorated sun bleached train tracks

About the Author

Nushrat Nur · University of Florida

Nushrat Nur is a journalism and pre med senior at the University of Florida. Her poem, Bhooth, has been previously published in the Mochila Review’s spring 2019 issue.

About the Artist

Effie Jia · Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Effie recently graduated from MIT, where she studied design and architecture. She loves to build things, draw, travel, hike, garden, and make Spotify playlists. Her interests range from fabrication to sustainability to literature and more; she is curious about everything.

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