your grandfather was this close to God: a eulogy

WRITTEN BY ALICIA HSU

no, he wasn’t. if i squint, i can see through the smoke:

your shadow swallowed shape, shallow withered mouth

hugging a crisp cigarette (do you see in tunnel vision?)

and your hands freckled with the love of a sun you used

to know, but not here. my mother told me that you were

obsessed with black holes and i wonder when you became

one, a solar void on the earth tasked with the mundane,

the restless, the purposeless resisting of my grandmother’s

fish hooks tugging in your peeling skin, your eyes, drooping,

perpetually staring me into the ground. if i squint at the inch

of vacuum space between my mother’s fingers when she

says you were this close to God, i see a casket being

shoveled into the same inferno i threw my paper prayers

into (what did i pray for, then? for you?), but instead of

feeling coals like burning acid through my stomach, i

feel now, like asking you to tell me what it is like

being so close to God.

Alicia Hsu is a Taiwanese-American senior in New York. Her work has appeared in Eunoia Review, Blue Marble Review, and more. When she isn’t dreaming up new stories or escaping in a fantasy novel, you can find her watching nostalgic movies and taking walks with her two dogs.