just months after my grandfather's death in 2003, cancer took reign of my grandmother's last breath; in 2018, an orca carried her dead calf a thousand miles across the pacific northwest for seventeen straight days
the dutiful grief is a stubborn dinner date picking off your plate for bites you’ve saved the dinner table is a ghost you must stop ignoring a bellyful of seawater is a stone soup for your crown
and what of teeth-clenched grief gripping the last fifteen years with might is it sanctimonious to preach relief when the moths have feasted on your sorrows
only for the best of us to turn forgetful of the dizzying time we’ve spent sitting in our islands and how spiteful we are of their days and months next to our years that only seem to curve and take
who dictates, then, the dissonance of half-truths or the near-ritualistic pulling of time to delay a surmised reality hunger is a mistress scavenging ashes for dregs
Audrey L. Reyes (she/her) is a poet, digital content specialist, and former early childhood educator whose favorite workplace activity is raising hell. Her work appears or is forthcoming in QUINCE Magazine, NECTAR POETRY, DEAR, Anti-Heroin Chic, superfroot magazine, and Marías at Sampaguitas. She resides in Manila, Philippines.