by Alison Cao
Alison Cao is a high school junior from Irvine, California. She was a 2020 graduate of the Adroit Summer Mentorship Program under Claire Wahmanholm. Her work has appeared in The Eunoia Review and Mineral Lit Mag, and she has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
My grandfather’s heart slurred
itself to death. His side of the family
is running out of men. We sit on the floor
and I slide his picture from the frame,
thirty again and smiling, dark hair wisped
in hot light. Grandmother furls the image
with her thumb. She looks at his face and
the decades fall from hers. For years she slept
in a phantom house, this lonely mother
of my mother, husband fucking
hungrier girls in cities beyond
these walls. Kneeling before his photo
she presses her thumb to his face. My grandfather blurs
beneath her, an image translucent,
man unlike any other that she has ever seen.
The picture flickers in her hands. Her fingers
form a crease, her husband vanishes in the fold.