"How Not to Grieve" by Sylvia Santiago


Never mind the tulips. It still feels like winter.

Avert your eyes from the birdless wing lying on the grass.

Don’t consider the soiled black and white feathers,

rachides like torn plastic straws.

Don’t think: poor magpie.

Ignore the twigs littering the verge. Don’t

wonder at their resemblance to dry fingers,


Don’t remember the last time you saw his hands.

Fail to notice the sun warming your hatless head.

Don’t pay attention to the kids playing in the park.

Do mind your manners and return the stranger’s smile.

Remember how you were raised: don’t complain, don’t cry.

You’re fine. Don’t

think about what it means to be a fatherless daughter.


Sylvia Santiago's writing has appeared in streetcake, Janus Literary, Crow & Cross Keys, Gasher, and elsewhere. She lives in western Canada, but can occasionally be found on Twitter @sylviasays2.

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