July 4, 2020

Luisa Muradyan   

Dear J,

There are so many fireworks outside

that it sounds like a Midwest

thunderstorm and I am

doing my part by lighting

a fuse that is attached

to a pooping paper dog

as my son waits

breathlessly in anticipation

of fire. Today is the anniversary

of my grandmother Liza’s death

and I think about how my son makes

the same facial expressions as her

when he leans in too close to danger. 

How can I describe their faces?

Two cerulean clouds erupting

against the night sky

and you might say,

Oh you’re describing their eyes

and I say, Yes but not like that,

like taking a spoon to the galaxy

to scoop pupils out of dark matter and no

I’m not talking about eyes anymore

I’m talking about a teenage

girl who ran from gunshots in the catacombs

and buried her trauma underneath

the buildings of Odessa.

This is a story that we learned

from her sister, a story that Liza

never shared with the rest of us.

Though one time, J,

she almost told me. Sitting in her

apartment over a pot of tea

she started to say something

before she stopped cold and

her eyes widened into

that familiar look. My son 

holding a sparkler too

close to his face before

feeling a fear, he cannot explain

and pushing his body back

further away from the light.


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