Arpita Roy


There are no dreams in the ocean. At Strandhill,
the waves comply with the tall grass,
the tall grass obeys the storm wind.

Contrary to my vacant imagination, I find
the marmalade to be bitter. The pizza, I request
without cheese. Every day, I take a bus somewhere.

When I cry in an oversized bathtub, the crystallized salt
knitted in my hair, holds its breath. The ceiling becomes
the brittle walls of a seashell. Over the phone,

my husband speaks, someday you’ve to find out
what it is that you find so hard about living.

I try to encircle my bony ankle. I am tired.
Who could’ve foreseen this soft industry of love?


In a letter I never sent my husband I wrote, don’t worry
I don’t expect to be loved in return
. I wrote,
I will take my serendipities to graze by dawn.
You mustn’t feel the pull of that which isn’t yours.

When I was six, I was asked to fight my best friend.
I refused. Everybody laughed at our smallness.

In Fairfax, when the opossum returned, we reveled in joy.
Small animal or otherwise, to be chosen at all
was a blessing. We christened him our own.

A child, on the screen, is carried through a forest.
She says oh my gosh at the poplars & oh my gosh
at the horizon & oh my gosh at the frail leaves yet to fall.

I watch the pasta over-boil. I miss my deadlines.
A domestic crow slakes the summer in its beak.
I forgot I meant to love people.

Arpita received her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University, where she was the Thesis Poetry Fellow for 2023-24. She has been awarded Cheuse Center Travel Fellowship and Bread Loaf Katharine Bakeless Nason Award. Her work can be found in ThrushPsaltery & Lyre and X-Ray. Arpita is from Kolkata, India.