Nonfiction by Anusha Srinivasan

Grief In the minutes after, she looks just the same. She is still warm, her face clear and beautiful, her skin smooth and supple [“Coconut oil keeps my skin young”]. She is in her night clothes, her mouth slightly open, her hands are on her chest. She could be sleeping. She doesn’t respond as we call out to her. In the hours after, she looks little like the person she was. Her face has turned pale white, the skin beneath her chin sags, her neck doesn’t hold up. There are too many people, she wouldn’t have liked that. The house is a mess. Ask someone to clean it up. Ask everyone to leave, crowds annoy her. We have to dress her in the clothes she will wear to her cremation. Not a stiff saree. Not an old one, she might feel she appears washed out. Find a saree that is soft like a baby’s palm, that smells of her. Leave her alone. Take off the watch, someone says. Her wrist is limp. I gave it to her on her birthday, she never removed it even when she slept. I shall take it back, and wear it as though it were her...
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