Alina Borger

The Plural of Grief
by Alina Borger

Ekphrastic response to Untitled Work by Eliezer Sotillo

Her son’s pygmy frog floated near the top of its tank one Tuesday evening in fall. She had to explain the epistemology of it all (how do we know frog isn’t coming back), traditional Western toilet bowl burial rituals, and where the water goes.

Also, her mother’s long illness, the death she’d forgotten to keep expecting, and weeks later her father’s cancer. The please no prayers, the please not again prayers, the please, just please prayers she murmurs underneath her working and sleeping.

The productivity of it all still astonishes her, facing inward, concentrating entirely on something so deeply held only to let it go—like running long distance, like giving birth. Everything else pushed out of the way, face white, eyes closed.

Surprising, too, what returns. Even with a benediction on her lips, ready to take a breath, lift her head, move on, that damn frog sprang to life again, its legs pushing through unflushed water until she found the net and scooped him back out.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 4.

alina_borger_sqAlina Borger writes and teaches in Iowa City, IA. She is the author of Tuesday’s Children, a chapbook from Hermeneutic Chaos Press, and her work recently appeared or is scheduled to appear in Midwestern Gothic, The Mom Egg Review, and The Pittsburgh Poetry Review.

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