Meagan Graves

For Gingersnap

For the first time since that summer went the way of giants and djinn
And those precious few angels 
Who lurk on telephone wires, breathless, like fallen snow, 
I went outside
To the backyard where
We buried her. 
A new summer had just begun from the sinking promise of spring,
And for the first time, I allowed myself to see 
The sunshine landing 
Upon the irises and marigolds sprouting from
The soft, warm earth where she once lay. 
I could not look at her grave.
I could not believe the beautiful things now blooming
Could have grown with and through her. Her small body, the last 
I saw it, could have been waking asleep
Under the towel that guarded her injuries and blanketed 
The blood. 
I kissed her brow then
As the sun kisses me now—like liquid amber
Preserving prehistoric beetles. Like amber trapping love
That will not melt 
Despite the sharp heat of grief. 
Today, I went out (for the first time since we lost her) to the backyard 
Where she rests and let
The tall grass wave and the lilac tree blossom 
And the strawberries, still pink, ripen ever-red. I went out
Into the place she lived in,
Felt the world sink back into my bones, 
And felt relief. 
She would have loved today
And so
I think
Should I.

Meagan Graves is a writer from Portland, Oregon, and is the recipient of the 2022 Michael and Gail Gurian Writing Award for Poetry. Through poetry, prose, and playwriting, she explores the themes of home and connection. Meagan is currently completing a degree in English and Communication Studies at Gonzaga University.

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