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I Left

Artwork by Fatema Rahaman, staff poet and artist

My heart on your bathroom floor, all blue and bloated, swollen from your touch; teeth, molars torn out from the root, gathered in your sink like billiards. I’d like my toothbrush back; a rubber band strangled by hairballs and head lice. I’m sorry for all the times I clogged your shower drain, by the way; in your fridge, a milk carton past its expiration date, and if you open it, it’ll smell of dead bugs, dry rot, and sheer death; masses of spoiled blackberries, maggots, and vomit in your trash bags. I can’t tell when food goes bad; my lungs, for you to cut up and chew out and swallow, burn ‘till they’re black and braised, and it’s brutal because I just want to breathe; with you, I want to be with you, and I’m sorry you forgot my birthday and that I spat out the meal you made me; you gave me fish eyeballs and expected me to like them; my voice at your apartment, and I’m still searching for myself, still driving down your street, wishing I’ll find myself.

Tonight, I’m wondering if I should pick up all the things I left, if you saved my things for me, if you threw them away in the end; tomorrow, I’m hoping you’ll leave me a message; today, I refuse to say goodbye.


Tien Hoang is a sixteen-year-old writer from Richmond, VA. They write way too much about relationships and cultural food, definitely not because they constantly crave smoothies and spring rolls. An Adroit Journal Mentorship alumna, Tien's work has been recognized by Ringling College, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and occasionally, their relatives. Apart from writing, they enjoy streaming Spotify on the regular, going on unhealthy K-Drama binges, and watching really, really bad movies. They're also a part-time Costco fanatic.

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