"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison



It was my grandmother who
taught me the art of saving
small things for funerals:

Two eyes in an ice box—
to be lent to painters who can smear their
pale yellow vision with sunflower chromes.

Some songs and a harmonica:
She thought the falsettos and grave moods
help the poets compose poems with ease.

A heart in the bleeding rib casket;
lovers should thrum its veins
to retrieve its lub-dub desire.
You can return
your nails and
hair to earth,
let them grow under the soil,

she whispered to me;

with an unbridled passion
your flesh will
mulch the seeds,
overlay the earth with many green skins.

Your bones will
be catamarans on water
dancing buoyant
on high tide days.

After a crunchy dry spell
your brain will melt
like walnuts on
many peoples’ tongues.
Do not light a candle,
toss joss stick,
grieve, dance or
sing at burials.

Hand down your joys like wreaths
before your passing; rest assured,
chuckling she said, the world will keep them safe!

Babitha Marina Justin is from a small town in Kerala, South India and her poems have appeared in Eclectica Magazine, Fulcrum: An Annual of Art and Aesthetics (forthcoming), Adolphus Press, Rise Up Review, and many others. She is also waiting to debut as a novelist with 'Maria's Swamp: The Bigness of Small Lies'. Facebook: Babitha Marina Justin

Cover photo by Jarl Schmidt on Unsplash

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