“thirty days after,” “Pivot,” and “Sour”

In Issue 66 by Margaret Sayers

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Photo by Ceyda Çiftci on Unsplash

thirty days after

the time for grieving ends

grief      does not

so I unfurl what is no longer      and smooth out      the wrinkles

my soul loosens and leans in      to the unwanted      hereafter

the before     murmurs     just beyond my hearing

my heart      skips      in a dissonant      rhythm

comfort strikes      a truce      with disquiet

enjoined by an absurd rule

against softening

the bitterness

I resign myself

to the taste of coffee

black

grief does

not

end

Pivot

I sit in chosen exile and notice

movement in the leaves of mountain laurels while

ghostly fingertips

tickle the back of my neck. Moisture

seeps into my jeans. Sour undertones like

turned wine

waft up from strewn moss. Once-silent rocks

whisper to me. Crumpled memories

wedged so long between my lungs

squeeze each breath. I listen

to the stream as it trickles by. On stiller days

it refuses to greet me.

           Not today.

                       Today

the trickle

comforts me and a page from a buried memoir

unfolds inside my chest. I smooth the story against my thigh

again and again in a

mindless ritual, then rest it on the water

which washes it away. A crow

alights on a drowning log

and cleans pollen-dust

from its glossy wings before rising

up.

Sour

he demands      she

                                explain

so she tries     to describe

how the             taste of a lemon

differs              from that of a lime.

he turns      away

tugging the high-tension line

                                                    that connects them

thinner

and tighter.

He insists      the distinction

                                                 matters;

               she dares not ask why.

with burning throat

and stinging eyes      she tries

again.

only nuance

and nonsense

and a tincture of blue

                                    distinguish the citrusy flavors.

             he’ll

                     never

             appreciate that subtlety.

they both know

she will soon shrug

in surrender.

she’s not even sure she cares for them anyway.

About the Author

Margaret Sayers

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Margaret Sayers is a clinical psychologist and university professor. When not writing or working, she enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and traveling.