by Carolene Kurien

like a pulled pork fork shredding
every strand of me to feed an other—
my earlobes, someone else’s chew toy,
my fingers lollipop someone else’s mouth.
I walk through the grocery store, pick out
the freshest deli sandwich for my sister, forget
to buy myself pretzels. My nephew pulls
on my hair, exacerbating the growing bald spot
on my hairline. I’d like to live in that small
empty. Drill an underscalp pool, disappear
into the water when anyone calls my name. No,
Bittu’s not home right now. She’s climbing
with the mountain goat. She’s searching for salt
to rub furiously into her soft palms.

Carolene Kurien is a Malayali-American poet from South Florida. She received her MFA from the University of Miami, where she was a James Michener Fellow. A Tin House alum, she has been published in Verse Daily, Salt Hill, Hobart After Dark, and Two Serious Ladies. She has poems forthcoming in SWWIM and the South Florida Poetry Journal.