Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

I can smell the war coming by Rhea Melina

It’s too many days uninterrupted with rubber burning
in my nostrils and exhaust fuming on my cheeks, I try
to brush it off, it doesn’t go away
I cough, it tastes like plastic,
no matter what I do or say
I fear I’m fake and floating, not like an angel
or a fairy flying in a dream, but like a mannequin
with no feet, no seams, no humanity

The flags keep getting bigger
the speeches more simple
I know what’s next
and so do the hairs on the back of my neck
If you’re privileged you either run to the sidelines
or flee past the border, and if you’re
like me you’ll still have to make some ends meet
Meet where? Meet who? For how long? We don’t ask
We indulge in simple pleasures to escape the anxiety and mask
despair with rebellion, apparently simply living
in truth, in love, in color has become an act of bravery


Rhea Melina is a multi-ethnic poet and jack-of-many-trades who lives in Seattle. She has been writing and putting out poetry since the early 2000’s. Her chapbooks include “Fireant” (SSO Press, 2005), “These are not secrets” (XYZ Animal Stars, 2009), “a place to put things” (Bottlecap Press, 2023), and “Not My Wasteland” (Bone Machine, 2024). Her poems have been published in Fiilthy Glo Zine, Hare’s Paw Literary Journal, Papers Pub, Rising Phoenix Review and Text Power Telling Magazine, among others, and recently she was a finalist for the 49th Parallel Award for poetry. A full-length collection of her poetry will soon be available from Carbonation Press.

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