The 2River View 28.4 (Summer 2024)

Melanie H. Manuel


moonlight spills in from half-turned blinds.
you watch your grandma stare heavenward.

transported away from here. she tells you
about her father’s departure. nameless. his inability

to stay. to return to her, her sisters, lola miguela.
a wartime hero in stills. ones you’ve only seen in

flickers. reborn into a new life, with a new family
of his choosing. she is not one to cry. she holds

steadfast to stone. there is not much more to say.
when you ask if she misses him, you really want

to ask if that’s allowed. she turns away to sleep.



we don’t talk about it—how
jennifer loves needy, when
they watch each other
it’s like jennifer is waiting
to devour her. i might’ve loved
you in that way too. the way
girls who do not know how
to love other girls any better do.
we were different then—as kids,
we sat on the pasture green swing,
higher—higher on each kick,
if only we had just jumped off
a new horizon might’ve met us
on the other side—our kind of
solace—to envision a life beyond
the suburbs & dirt mounds. we
played as ghosts after dark, made
everyone into ghosts too. your hand
in mine, always a little ways ahead,
became blurs of white, this one
embrace, the last we’ll ever share.
you loved me once.

Melanie H. Manuel is a Filipina American poet who attends SDSU for her MFA in poetry. Her debut chapbook, in storyboard, is now out. Her work has been published by Grist: A Literary Journal of Arts, Los Angeles Review, and North American Review.
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