On a California freeway, I think about language

A driver in the adjacent lane extends 

a middle finger as if to say 

I’m driving too slowly in the slow lane.

The unspoken word belly flops in the acid

juice and tangle of my stomach. 

The driver’s front teeth bite down

on the lower lip and a letter blooms

like fire like fear like a voice finally free

from the mouth.  

Without another glance, I know  

the features of this face.

Violence is gnarled and bruised purple.

What else is there to do but receive it 

like a sponge, wring it out, and lay it down 

damp in the kitchen sink.


Standing at an angle, Rashna Wadia is looking directly at the camera and smiling. A light blue stucco wall is behind her.  The right side of the wall juts out and her right hand is resting on it. The sleeve of her pink sweater is pulled over part of her right hand except for her folded fingers resting on the wall.  Her shoulder length black hair is worn in a bob style, hair tips curling inward around her chin.

Rashna Wadia’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Catamaran, Terrain.org, Whale Road Review, Rust & Moth, Salt Hill Journal and elsewhere.  Her work has received support from VONA/Voices, Open Mouth, and Kenyon Review. She lives in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two cats, and is the poetry editor at Fahmidan Journal.