a woman named Priyanka

by Paula Ethans

I’m sorry I didn’t call, I

didn’t want to. I picked up all the flames

from the yard and watered each one

with my tears. If healing is hard work,

call me a hero.


I sent a body bag

to my trauma last week. I don’t feel light,

I feel the power of a thousand yiayias

behind me. An army of ancestors raging against

what has always been.


The patriarchy

feels like laughter at a funeral. As cruel as

a fish drowning. A punch to the gut that leaves

your granddaughter gasping. It’s a paradigm of



But maybe permanence is a

woman named Priyanka. With eyes

that can melt this winter. Maybe we can grow

mangoes together. Watch them

blossom. Feel ourselves root. Let it wash over us

like laughter at a funeral.


When I die,

I hope you laugh at my funeral.

Paula Ethans is a writer, poet, organizer, and human rights lawyer from Canada. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Rogue Agent, Ethel Zine, The Quarantine Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, nymphs publications, Bareknuckle Poet, and more. She most recently won the 2019 Trans Europe Expression Slam finals in Manchester, UK. You can follow her on Twitter @PaulaEthans.



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