Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

They Left Us Our Paradise

by Umang Kalra

I learnt that silver had a smell            kite strings
were made of something stronger than glass I
wondered        how thread could slice through my
skin so very easily my childhood       was a mess of
forgetfulness and Urdu that I did not recognize
Punjabi I kept hidden inside of the folds of my
clothes it was not        pretty it was not made of
cement and stone like the english that carved
itself     into my tongue into my throat into
my sleep through soil and blood         it did not
taste of the rust from water taps they told me
stories  of more sinister things poured down
water like crumbled glass poured down         our
throats could we exist             without trees rotting
into carcasses reading poems written for the
languages we spun into necklaces decked up it is
time for a celebration the monsters     have gone
they left us our paradise see they left us this land
that smells of a crown discarded        my mother’s
silver jewelry underneath my tongue it tastes
of the languages they told me to         swallow and
spit out for them to steal it smells       of the kites
mocking our battles  in the sky it smells of blood

Umang Kalra is an Indian poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Luna Luna Magazine, Vagabond City, Moonchild Magazine, and others. She tweets at @umangkalra_ and her website is

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