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1 poem

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.

Altar

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.