March 16, 2021

Luisa Muradyan 

Dear J,

I am going to start this final

poem in the worst way.

I’m going to tell you that this year has

been impossible. That I cannot write

what I cannot remember. So instead,

I’m going to make a catalogue of images

paired with feelings or maybe a catalogue

of words paired with meaning.

My car is not a vehicle because it has

not taken me anywhere this past year 

my car is more accurately a movable room

built for crying. For parking in the lot

of your closest fast food restaurant, you know

the one with the neon lights where you find

moments of comfort. The one with all the other

mothers holding on to the warmth of a french fry.

We’ve all been there

that moment of lucid aloneness

where the only song on the radio is

yourself. And let me be honest J, most days

I want that moment in the parking lot so I can look

at my children on my phone. In this picture

my older child is smiling with his eyes,

his mouth covered with an image of Spiderman

he holds the hand of his baby brother, now

almost a toddler, unmasked, new teeth on display.

Their great grandmother in the same picture

behind a screen, wearing the same cerulean

sweater she wore on her flight from the Soviet Union

all those years ago. Exiting the plane

terrified of a new world and yet moving

toward my mother’s open arms,

dropping her papers,

her suitcase, her fur hat, 

every physical thing she had carried

on the floor, everything gone for a moment,

for this moment of touch.



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