“LA” by T Sarmina

I’m a teenager reaching for buttons
kissing through curtains of cumin colored hair
listening to a soundtrack of
washing machines as they
hit the back of
a garage wall,
where we are,
where we tangle in spider webs
and count our legs

my chest parachutes
when I see you
and the threads sewn around
my fist-shaped heart

I woke up coughing from
a dream
waves trapped in my lungs
waves like your arms
pushing me against a rock
you fill me with salt

The first morning I woke in your arms
I was eighteen years old
growling and wagging my tail
like a dog that’s happy when you
call it a good boy

I’m your LA stray cat,
sucking on your lips
like I’m never fed enough
laying on your chest

to hear your heart

beat like loud engines on
long streets


T Sarmina was raised in the Central Valley. A queer, xicanx child of migrant field workers, T writes with these identities intersecting at the page. They are a VONA SoCal alumna and earned their bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Mills College in Oakland. They currently live in Los Angeles and work at 826LA as the Writers’ Room Coordinator. You can find them at Manual Arts High, running programs to build students’ writing skills, and encouraging young storytellers to publish their poetry and history.



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