Tanya Muzumdar

photo by Jillian Rubman

photo by Jillian Rubman

Memory Grenades

it was a war, scarf-wrapped hair
flailing, a boat rail in winter,

a house rowing above the ground.

two-thousand sixty-eight miles by car,

peak sky,

bugs boiling,

chrome gangrened. it was

wine and letters,
grape inking up the pulp.

the girl in your artwork dodging

the pencil,

rocking the car

on the gravel, erasing.

it was the wool doll’s
mouth eaten by moths
in the orange

that man wearing gray military.

your wife’s

crepe lips,

and rays yellow as wolf
eyes bursting into

shrapnel on her face.

it was the tock—
a chain censer

swinging, ash and incense winging—

until it stopped.


When the Road Broke in Two,

it wasted our afternoon. We

turned back at the washout,
where ATV tracks jumped

the gray bolt of river
wrecking Nabesna Road.

That machine. I bet it wasted the gap.
The glint of wheels leaping,

rider, chin tucked, helmet a black pearl,
beer just on the other side.

We were men in a minivan,
blocked from where mailboxes ended.


So we got Thai at the purple trailer
docked at the Tesco station.

It wasted nothing, that trailer. It had a website.
It reached out via satellite, pulling

hikers from the mountain wild and roadies
bound for the Yukon Territory.

Over noodles and box wine at the pink picnic
table, he said, “Those things I should’ve done.

Marriage. Man. That woman.”
Shook his head. “Just once.”

Our forks poked styrofoam, leaving trails up
snowy mountains.

Tanya Muzumdar is an MFA candidate in poetry at Pacific University. Her poems have recently appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nashville Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Bayou Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Salamander, and elsewhere. She lives in northern Michigan, where she works as an editor and travel writer.

Jillian Rubman is a photographer and graduate student. See her full bio here.