by Megan A. Pastore


Less than 24 hours after your death

I was asked to describe the shape of grief—

but how do I mold a vacancy? How

do I force the concept of [       ]

into a tangible, recognizable thing

when I’ve no name for your absence?

Last night, I asked you to come to me

in a dream, as if you didn’t have more

important things to do—but know this:

I begged for you, needed to see you, hold

you, keep you, desperate to meet you

in the in-between and instead, I dreamt

of a blooming Easter cactus—electric violet

birthing from the tips of rounded green

and I remembered—your favorite color is

was purple, a striking contrast

to your once ember-red cascade, and I think

what is the color of rage? Of sadness?

Of pain? My heart is a poor

contortionist, an inflexible fraud stuck

in its own foolish backbend, blood rushing

to its head—the pressure, a rubber-band

stretched in my chest—why does grief

feel like an open mouth? Cloud of flies

feast in the back of my throat—a vocal

vibration not of my own making.


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