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Grandma's Wars

First appeared in Argot Magazine.

Grandma’s pantry, always full to
bursting with war’s sticky-fingered residue.
When I look for a candy bar,
I’m conditioned to think of Axis-occupied Greece.
Chocolate tasting like a paradoxical ’41.
Grandma says: During the war, we went hungry.
Only a toddler back then,
yet she still remembers hunger’s calloused
fingers digging into children stomachs
pumped full of empty winter air
like skin-and-bone balloons.

Grandma is at war with her TV
and every little Hangman figure in it.
Stupid box, she calls it,
Why do these queers have to flaunt themselves at us?
A triptych with her: the queers, the immigrants, the atheists.
Always a blame game.
Never satisfied, she says.
Always hungry for more.
Grandma tells me: It’s what’s plunged this country into ruin,
the stupid box said so.
They could use a war. Maybe they’d learn their place then.
Grandma tells me: Be a doll and take the groceries to the pantry.
I go back into the closet where her wars reside,
separate but not mutually exclusive.
I look at all shelves bent under the weight of food and trauma
heavy with children sucking on olive pits found on the roadside slush,
with mothers cooking their household pets for Christmas dinner.
What I don’t tell Grandma:
Today at the supermarket I saw a girl
who made me feel wet and open
like the overripe peaches you complained
about at the produce aisle.
How’s that for hunger?

Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She
enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities
and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in
Fiction Online
, The Forge Literary, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Journal
of Compressed Creative Arts
, Argot Magazine, The Arcanist, and other
venues. Avra won the 2019 Bacopa Literary Review prize for fiction.
You can find her on twitter

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Previously published in Eleventh Transmission:
"After Thanksgiving" by Janet McCann.

Published December 22, 2019

Special Project: 45 Poems of Protest

Grandma's Wars

by Avra Margariti
(Athens, Greece)
Eleventh Transmission: "Grandma's Wars" by Avra Margariti
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