Home Sweet Home

By: Leonardo Chung

after “The Assassination of the Landlord’s Purple Vintage 1976 Monte Carlo” by Martín Espada

The landlord says we have to go, and I’m thinking of those
five suitcases kissing like the skyscrapers

of the New York skyline, their velvet lines
weaving into each other, the last candle’s withering
flame wilting to a flicker of ash.

The kitchen is engulfed in a thick void. Rain pounds
and pummels against the window, leaving
weeping streaks as the droplets
slide, conjoin, then slide again, until they reach
the ledge’s waiting mouth.

You do not belong here, they shriek.

The heat has been turned off,
and I can only wash my face with the mud
that sprays out of the faucet twice a day.

The apartment’s frosty draft ushers me
out the door, leaving me
a cold, clammy, crying mess
on the
floor mat almost torn to bushy shreds—

Everyone is Welcome
proudly emblazoned beneath my feet.

Leonardo Chung is from Illinois and a finalist for the 2024 Witness Literary Awards. He also claimed second place in the 2023 William Faulkner Literary Competition. His works have been published or is forthcoming in Chautauqua Journal, Superstition Review, Full House Literary, Hyacinth Review, Sheepshead Review, Sweet Literary, and many others. He takes inspiration from distinguished poets such as Langston Hughes, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Louise Glück.

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