Haibun for the Grieving

By: Anna Fischer

I encounter my grandmother approximately thirteen months after her death in a near-empty
subway station, waiting for the M line. This is quite odd because I am certain she has never
stepped foot on a train before this moment. The station is an old hag in menopause. Layers of
grime drip from the walls in sickening splatsplatsplats. Other than that, it is quite.

Quiet. On the platform on the other side of the tracks, a young man stands, trenchcoated and
utterly wretched. His skin peels from his body like the casing of a warm — mouthwarm, deep
mouthwarm — sausage and his legs pool around his ankles, drawing in hounds to lap him up.
My grandmother does not see him. Of this I can assure myself; if she had, she would turn her
leftsloped shoulder crunch in toes on right foot ignore her own flaccidity refuse to be told to be

Nice. Instead, she stares ahead, intent on tasting the very first rumble of departure. Her hands are
out in front of her middleround lung level (though it is hard to determine the true latitude of
those shudderinginflatiblesa.k.a vital organs after so many months apart). Fingers pudgy and
sunspotted big Irish working palms writer of birthday cards consequence of Clem’s battle against
osteoarthritis in the digits. Thumbs on top, horizontal, pads facing down. Four fingers of each
hand curled underneath, pads facing up. Holding sun thing.

Something. Perhaps I ought to wonder if I am in my right mind. The man on the other platform is
gone and I hum that one Pound poem in my head. My grandmother is a redwood, sturdy large
midsize, endangered. My grandmother is a tree above a headstone shivering in the cold heat of
September. No, that can’t be right, there is no final resting place open sore wound of the earth for
her. Boxed up somewhere, ashes to dust, yes that’s more like it. No. That can’t be right. She’s
right her.

Here. Chatter of damp
distant voices seep into
an empty station.

Anna Fischer is a current senior of English Writing and Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. Anna finds beauty in the raw, visceral, pulsating moments, the quiet cacophany of existence.

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