notes on grief

at daybreak, a ream is brought into the cosmos
            and a wolf’s nightly cries spread gauze on a saltwater
wound. a fistfight breaks out and three blind men cauterize
      a comrade’s woes, slip a palette knife over trauma.

the way my mother slices tomatoes, is slick meat
            on scabbed knees. when i arrive as a leaping
   lily’s cut stem – a reaper will whirl a hurricane in his nail beds,
            a child underneath his squatting limbs.

once a dead man’s casket is grown into mildew by
      a raging snowdrift. half-eaten, half-baked;
   an apple pie – a tinge of a widow’s liver. here cacao
      strains milk-sap into a babe’s tongue, laps it up like
   my grandmother’s daschund. yesterday we put
      him down; today his water bowl drips sonorous.

then, a drooping elm-oak fell to the ground. a little
   angel-boy clipped his wings and hung them to dry.
in kindergarten, we peg crafts and arts. after naptime;
   go outside and plant a sapling, suck dried succulents
into our teeth.

uproots a banyan tree and looks
   towards the sky. an eagle in her clenches, grips a
hamster in cleaved feathers and lets out a wail.

Anoushka Kumar (she/her) is a student and writer from India, with work forthcoming or published in The Heritage Review, The Incandescent Review, Ayaskala and elsewhere. She likes wood-panelled flooring and Phoebe Bridgers. Find her at

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