Home // Village Square



You made a home out of me – snuggled into my body’s crevices – expected me to be shelter – the clothes that clung to you like magnets – the water you sipped on – for quenching – to dry out the river in me. I didn’t know how to say no / make myself less / of a castle and more of a cave / cloaked in darkness / too sturdy to tumble / to seep / into you. You made a home – is where the heart is – is me for you – where is mine? – somehow signed my bones away – never gave you permission – to take // I take back – three words – with my hands cup them – once velvet – shove them back in my mouth like a meal – let regret awaken my taste buds – feel them struggle down my throat – rumble in my belly like drums – occupy – I tell them stay – never leave again // leave me alone – the key please / give me back mine / house / please give me back my home.


Village Square

mama and grandma      find a new place  after the white lady buys us out our home

the one my great grandma owned our legacy  we get an apartment small as one floor of the old house     I make friends with brown girls    go to Saturday fiestas with Jesus hanging on their wall      tapestry the color of a Midwest sunset    Virgin Mary on the end table

while her family gets drunk  while my mama works grandma blocks the door with a gold metal stopper                           people breaking in cars over here             blood clots in nostrils                               phlegm thick as soot              brown stuff been growing                        ’round the tub              grandma scrapes it off                    mama ain’t got time to worry gotta provide the roof for us                  in walls like moss                           its own       soil    landlord won’t tear it out we stay                  wonder if it’s growing large as the rent                mold grabs me              by its teeth  tosses me like a disk    mama says  we have to go              grandma stops scraping         blood rolls back into              my nose                                                    we can breathe again


Arriel Vinson is an Indiana native who writes about being young, black, and in search of freedom. She is an MFA Fiction candidate at Sarah Lawrence College and received a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University. Her poetry won third place prize in LUMINA Journal, judged by Donika Kelly, and she has had essays/articles published in Blavity, The LaLa, HuffPost and more.