Living Without Water
When you die, does everything just stop?
óMarilyn Hacker

The kitchen is a city of tin cans.
For a month now weíve eaten off the same plates.
Theyíre stained. Different sauces have dried and overlapped.
We donít wash. We donít change. We donít listen
to the man downstairs abuse his furniture
with a baseball bat. Here the rats keep a record
of our odor in their whiskers. They are
fearless, and the objects we can use against them
are limited. Girls, our mother says every day,
donít stop for me. When you reach the 7-Eleven,
go on walking. Donít look back.
How does one ever leave
a parent? We calm her down. We keep her warm.
We listen as she tells us the story of our baby
brother: how she fell asleep, how he fell
asleep, and how one of them didnít wake up crying.

Arlene Ang is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent being a collaborative work with Valerie Fox, Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008). She serves as staff editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. She received the 2006 Frogmore Poetry Prize and the 2008 Juked Poetry Prize. She lives in Spinea, Italy. Visit her at

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761