Poetry: Mid-August by Katie Pukash

The stars are swollen. Our grief
tucked with dust inside the singularity.
Ancient bodies full of is and love and once.
Brimming with before –
kept closed in a mother’s locket.

Do we ever name this emptiness?
A vast reach from Pluto to Polaris.
Killed with car exhaust
as the oven opens only
to pull out a burnt cake.

You boundless room.
To lick the tear off your cheek
is to swallow every ocean. Yes.
Do all things know this aged ache?
To open your hands ⸺ and nothing.
A star dies ⸺ and nothing.

Our worry is woven into the sky
and grief becomes a mother. Yes.
This is gospel. This is you –
fat and unfurling – a galactic masterpiece of
always and tenderness and tomorrow.

Katie Pukash (she/her) is a poet and visual artist based in Boise, Idaho. Her work has appeared in the Boise Art Museum, The Indianapolis Review, What Are Birds Journal, Bareknuckle Poet Journal of Letters, among others. She is currently working on her first full-length manuscript and is studying to become a horticulture therapist. Find her on Instagram @otherlovings

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