Major Arcana XIII:
Kamatayan Was Exactly Correct

Hari Alluri

After Amina Saïd / After Jennifer May Maramba,
Jana Lynne Umipig, & Verma Soraya Zapanta


My lola’s chewing is marvelously toothless.

Adobo shines her gums,
she cracks the bones for the marrow’s extra salt.

Trace the letters, she never says, the language of salt.

The story she tells with the power out
has a flashlight pointing up its face.

A minute after the fright, and my
breath is still scuffled. This ocean between

my sweat for her, my tears
and her village. I wasn’t there

when her chewing left.

Since, I swipe the plate and lick
my fingers for her jokes.

Time doesn’t end in us, it goes

how it pleases, requires no welcome-mat
mandala pour of salt

as light settles in the glass, the sand—
she boasts

her smile.
Is Lola also salt?

One part who I am, one part where I’m from?

Years after she died, Undas,
she reminds me

the geometry of her movements: when I brush my hair,
I brush the knots—out of hers. The mess

is also true. Here, our backhand one-arm broom.
My line,

from hips to shoulders, fending off
the curve of hers. My wonderment, let it

be what binds me to salt, its calling
the part my broom can’t sweep away.

Visual Art: LaKela Brown, Horizontal Composition with Gold Teeth and Ropes #1.