A brittle-boned ghost came to tell me a secret. Open your mouth, it said, and show me your grief. I plucked it clean from my chest. Sorry, I said. For the size of it. Last time I looked at it closely, it was larger, more slippery, a bowling ball cased in a gasoline film. Now, it was a thumb-sized guppy fish. I could squish it, I thought. Well, said the ghost, do what you need to. The grief stared at me with its peppercorn eyes, and I looked at it as if to say, we’ve had a good run but it’s probably best that we part ways, and it gave me its best even after all we’ve been through? look. And I saw it flashing iridescent in my wine glass – our sugar snap past. How it kept me warm on the day of the funeral, snug at the wake, my mind going back to an emptied-out kitchen and the grief putting its palms on my shoulders, holding my body at dusk. So I swallowed it. Quickly. And I asked, what was the secret? and the ghost said nothing for a moment, just placed my hand on my ribs so I could feel it: this big, billowing carnivore growing soft with the years, undoing its spine, and settling down in the dark.
Yanita Georgieva is a Bulgarian poet and journalist living in London. She is the recipient of the 2022 Out-Spoken Prize for Page Poetry. You can find her work in bath magg, Poetry Wales, The Cardiff Review, Alien, and elsewhere.
Photography by: Tú Bông