Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five


The man next door drinks til sunset—I have the evening to take out the trash—three plastic bags of used Yaky.
I oil the white of my scalp in my bathtub so the nectar doesn’t stain my sheets.
I sleep naked.
In my dreams i am four times too big for my body.
I eat crushed roses and pour golden milk over my skin.
I burned my tongue trying relaxer once, my mother smacked my hand away before I could try it again.
I am combing and twisting and oiling and trimming and crying and crying and crying.
On good days, I call myself “sister” and mean it.

Ashia Ajani is a senior Environmental Studies major specializing in environmental justice and food rights at Yale University. She is originally from Denver, Colorado but currently resides in New Haven, Connecticut. She is a Minor Disturbance Denver Youth Poetry alumni and took 4th place alongside her team at the 2014 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. She has been published in Brushfire Literature & Arts, Atlas&Alice Magazine, Apeiron Magazine, Pilgrimage Press and The Hopper Magazine. She released her first chapbook, We Bleed Like Mango, in October of 2017. Follow her on Instagram here.