Poetry: The Stent by Maya Eashwaran
In “The Stent,” the speaker laments the illness of her father, using fruit as a metaphor for life and hardship. In the end, there is even empathy for the disease: who could resist her father’s heart?
In the beginning, my father finds
a grape in his chest.
The facts of the case are few.
A hit to the jugular can end a
grown man. Mothers who haven’t
screamed in years, still refrain.
In the valleys, winemakers crush
vats of severed grapes by foot in
order to control the path of
destruction. To de-skin, to
marble, to squeeze, to assert
war in each footfall. To shred.
My father feels the warmth
before the burning. Inside
his chest, the cavity is quiet
and untraveled and a single
light bulb hangs from a thread
above a small writing desk, a home.
The grape lives, learns to read and
write and dance and when my
father coughs a ghost flies from
his body and crawls to my door
where I lie awake in a purple
mist, the figure prying my
fist open like fruit, like
offering. In the beginning
we let the grapes be. They
swelled and grew knobbed arms
and legs and we watched
them live and we watched
my father’s face grow skinless.
And who am I to blame it,
the grape, in my father’s concave
body, the artery and the skin and
the air and the mother’s
short shriek, the battlefield under
my stomping feet shaking.
In the beginning, a grape sits in
my father’s heart. It is warm and
outside, so cold. Who am I to blame
it? Who wouldn’t want to stay
Maya Eashwaran is an Indian-American poet originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She is currently a senior at Princeton University, majoring in Politics and getting a certificate in the Program in Creative Writing. Maya has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and she served as the 2016 National Student Poet for the Southeast. Her poems are recently published in Hobart and Birdfeast Magazine and are forthcoming in the Asian American Writer’s Workshop’s “The Margins.” On campus, she is a freelance journalist with the University Press Club and a member of Songline Slam Poetry.