“Gifts” by Elizabeth Jaikaran

Life has taken so much from granny
but it left behind all of her fears.
A cabinet left unopened and unraided.
For that it has no use.
Her joys, her opinions, her memories —
she laid them down,
surrendered them. And they were collected
and packed away some place so far away
that she doesn’t know how to get there,
all while her amygdala tends
a neat graveyard of
her worst days and switch blades
hidden in sleeves,
right atop her lap.

Elizabeth Jaikaran is a New York-based author and attorney, the proud daughter of Guyanese immigrants; born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, and educated in Harlem.