Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Nothing More by Dara Kalima

after “Ms. Found in a Bottle” a short story by Edgar Allan Poe

Of my country and of my family
I have little to say.
They have little to say of me.
After all, my country wishes
that I salute its beauty
while dismissing the crimson
dripping from its flag.

They want me to chant praises
while never asking for forgiveness,
never making penance,
never offering restitutions.

My country asks…
it demands
that I keep the family secret.
Begs me not to mention
the drunk relative
stomping ‘round
laying hands on anyone
they can abuse.

It asks me to smile like
the murder of my childhood
never happened,
like I can ever forget
the sounds of keys
jingling in the hallways
that stills my spine,
queasies my stomach,
makes my teeth grind away
their bite at night,
each night,
for too many nights…

I have little to say
to my country,
or my family,
as they have never been home to me,
they’ve only been
where abuse resides,
where I’ve been fed
a side of Stockholm with each meal.

Was told be grateful for it
and have been threatened for
not wanting to clean my plate.
“Take what we feed you
and smile,”
they say.

To survive,
I raise the corner of my lips,
but the blood still runs,
the wounds still ooze,
and that greatness
they wish to portray is
showing cracks.
The facade,
no, the entire ship,
like the one once boastful
and unsinkable…
Going down!


Dara Kalima, also known as The Community Poet, is a Bronxite, who started writing at 9, and locked into her voice at 25.  Kalima explores the topics of love, equity, and healing through the lens of lived experiences and personal observations.  She hosts On Behalf Of Podcast and has performed on stages across tri-state and internationally. Kalima has authored four books including Two X Chromosomes with an Extra Shot of Melanin (2019) and Still Laughin’ (2021).

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