• Marías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Noreen Ocampo

Kitchen



There’s sliced cheese in the fridge,

underneath the avocados I’ll forget about.


You can make sandwiches

until you’re tired & you don’t have to ask


how many you’re allowed.

I want you to be like me. I want


you to have reasons to live. Maybe two

of those reasons are sandwiches


& cheese. Maybe our people

are watching from heaven & horrified,


or watching from the living room

& disappointed, but


we can also boil elbows al dente

& grate a block of whatever else is hiding


in the fridge. & maybe old-style mustard,

maybe peas. Third & fourth reasons.


Or maybe we weren’t meant to

be making mac & cheese fancy, or at all


& that’s why it hasn’t been

turning out right. Or maybe my gaze


over your shoulder is what’s curdling

the sauce & I should step back


& trust that you know

what color the flame should be.




Noreen Ocampo (she/her) is a Filipina American writer and poet based in metro-Atlanta. She studies English, film, and media at Emory University and currently writes for COUNTERCLOCK and {m}aganda magazine. She is also a regular contributor for Marías at Sampaguitas. Say hi on Twitter @maybenoreen!

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