Small Town Heartburn, by Nila Narain

A man drove an SUV into the mall I took
my first steps in. A dark car tore through the

Sears dressing rooms where I put my first
bra on. Backwards. The kiosks I purposely

ignore, the Cinnabon counter I can’t, all reduced
to shatter. The tiled floor is scorched with tire tracks,

and if you looked down from the skylight you’d see the
sprawl of car parts jettisoned across the Looney Tunes

play place. It’s strange, this small town heartburn. I am
hundreds of miles away, but the headlines still cut circles

under my feet. Nothing is as gutting as realizing just how
hard memory can grip somewhere you won’t recognize

in a few years. Nothing as bizarre than that building
being taken down from the bottom up.


— Published 4th of August 2020


About Nila Narain

Nila Narain (he/they) is a mad crip queer poet. They are an alum of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where they studied computer science and creative writing. In their spare time, Nila enjoys crafting and napping with their cat. Find them on Instagram @nilarain00.