Mornings For Eternity

after Divyasri Krishnan’s ‘Girl as an animal of regret’

in a perfect world, i am ageless. 

chrysanthemums stay in bloom. 

chai leaves swirl down as spring 

rain. milky mists rise from the earth, 

frothing. in the mornings, my father 

wishes me a good day, his hand on my 

mother’s far shoulder as i leave. his 

hand still normal. his irises not 

bleeding. his brain    not    bleeding. 

but in this real world, red poppies 

fill the garden. fill the yard. fill his 

mouth. when he speaks, scarlet petals 

peel off his tongue like a scab. bandaids 

don’t heal wounds. i am disheartened 

and unlearning hope the way a shovel 

conceals graves. and in this real world, 

he is in that grave, and i am the shovel,

spilling my regrets from the lips, 

down the walls, onto a glorified box. 

i can live because he died. 

in the mornings, i drink tea by myself,

reminded of how now weeds grow 

in place of my body. how the air 

stinks of 1 part guilt, 1 part shame. 

i will die eventually, just like my father,

alone with my thoughts, answering to

an unrelenting gust of bitter leaves falling 

into stained cups like my childhood dreams. 

remind me again of the everlasting chrysanthemums. 

remind me again why i dream at all

k.p.fen (she/her) is a Filipina-American who resides in New Jersey with her loving husband and cat. She tries not to define herself by occupation or her mental illness, but recognizes they continue to shape her life. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Post Grad Journal, In Her Space Journal, and New Note Poetry. You can find her reading at open mics throughout the state and on Instagram at @inkdroplets.