Michiel Jelijs CC
When I hear that my sister did not attend my father’s funeral
I know she has become a weather pattern,
an atmospheric river sweeping over California
turning freeways into lakes, overpasses into waterfalls,
fields into seas. She carries everything away
with a liquid wave of her arm—barking dogs
and mewling cats thrash in her turbulent waters,
crash into teapots and flashlights, plastic garbage bins
and bicycles. Her mouth is a grotto sucking
and spewing a toppled birch tree, a flag ripped
from its post, a jump rope, a rusty barbeque.
She swallows schoolyards and backyards, strawberry
fields and football fields, parking lots and graveyards.
No one can see her cry because she is Gulliver, her head
crowned with thunderclouds. All we hear is terror.
All we smell is death.
Elya Braden is a writer and mixed-media artist living in Ventura County, CA, and is Assistant Editor of Gyroscope Review. She is the author of the chapbooks, Open The Fist (2020) and The Sight of Invisible Longing, a semi-finalist in Finishing Line Press’s New Women’s Voices Competition (forthcoming 2023). Her work has been published in Calyx, Prometheus Dreaming, Rattle Poets Respond, Sequestrum, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, The Coachella Review and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Best New Poets. www.elyabraden.com.
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