Avra Margariti: Two Poems
Grandma’s pantry, always full to
bursting with war’s sticky-fingered residue.
When I look for a candy bar,
I’m conditioned to think of Axis-occupied Greece.
Chocolate tasting like a paradoxical ’41.
Grandma says: During the war, we went hungry.
Only a toddler back then,
yet she still remembers hunger’s calloused
fingers digging into children stomachs
pumped full of empty winter air
like skin-and-bone balloons.
Grandma is at war with her TV
and every little Hangman figure in it.
Stupid box, she calls it,
Why do these queers have to flaunt themselves at us?
A triptych with her: the queers, the immigrants, the atheists.
Always a blame game.
Never satisfied, she says.
Always hungry for more.
Grandma tells me: It’s what’s plunged this country into ruin,
the stupid box said so.
They could use a war. Maybe they’d learn their place then.
Grandma tells me: Be a doll and take the groceries to the pantry.
I go back into the closet where her wars reside,
separate but not mutually exclusive.
I look at all shelves bent under the weight of food and trauma
heavy with children sucking on olive pits found on the roadside slush,
with mothers cooking their household pets for Christmas dinner.
What I don’t tell Grandma:
Today at the supermarket I saw a girl
who made me feel wet and open
like the overripe peaches you complained
about at the produce aisle.
How’s that for hunger?
The first bird burst from my throat without warning.
I coughed a few feathers, delicately,
one floating down to my rose-latticed saucer.
I stirred my tea with a brass spoon,
and you asked for a stone,
but I emptied a packet of sugar on your tongue.
We laughed, and you snatched the feather,
fashioned a quill and wrote me a note
I’d find in my pocket later while doing the laundry:
I think we should be together.
The last bird knocked against my windpipe
before exploding in pyrotechnics of feathers and gore.
While I scooped the detritus with a brass spoon,
you asked for a stone.
I handed you one, even though the birds
were dead. There was nothing left to kill.
I said, I think we should break up.
We had to tidy up before your mother got home
and found blood on her lace doilies.
She wouldn’t mind the crime scene.
It would be the sight of us together that would shock her,
two girls trying to clean the carnage they made of their
Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared in Wolfpack Press, The Writing District, Dime Show Review, and Page & Spine.