Elliot Ping (she/her or they/them) is a writer, neuroscience student, and lifelong Midwesterner currently residing in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Dovecote Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Kissing Dynamite, and The Knight's Library. You can find her on Twitter @elliotcping.
in the eighth grade
i got whiplash, falling
on the asphalt
-ball hoops started the year
with nets and ended
we started the year with you. i remember:
your brother left class. i stuck gum under my desk when the door clicked, thought back to picture day, thought forward to yearbooks, wondered if they would leave room for you, wondered how quickly we’d forget shared air.
you sit against the wall in P.E., throw the basketball back when it rolls to your feet, roll your eyes when asked to play. i roll memories between my fingers, marbles i shoot to hear them click together, fast blood pumping in the silence after a miss. i roll your name around my mouth, jawbreaker, see if it tastes any different. what they don’t tell you about grief is that it keeps you captive until you roll over for it.
they sent a letter home about grief.
your face was orange
with foundation in
we were so angry. how