Two poems by Guneet Kaur

The Edge

Death trembles 

at the borders of 

my home. 

Living at the edge 

betwixt our sidewalk & driveway. 

Last month we dragged over this line with a razor blade 

dug & drilled & drove it deeper

carving into our minds 

the brink 

where danger approaches.  

Perhaps we were motioning the end 

of one kingdom and the beginning of another. 

Yet blades of grass squeeze through the cracks 

and at dawn we all lie 

drenched in the same scent

of rain-soaked shadows 

and warm browns 

as our neighbors. 

And as life persists 

we see residues of the green 

wall that bills erected,  

partitioning the world. 

Yet the tangled curls of dandelions in a stone belly

dare to cross between worlds

blending

graying

blurring

the borders. 

In another 2020

In another 2020

a new york city spring

the sun comes out every day, gleaming off the brownstones &

bathing the concrete, 

meandering through the gaps in the freshly 

blooming branches 

the park across our apartment filled to the brim

pick-up games & double-dutch competitions

its 9pm and the day is just setting

older sister on the stoops braiding 

hair, gathering every stray wisp 

& holding every 

whisper

grandmothers gathered on the church steps

spring florals & summer yellows. 

we have that central park picnic 

fresh cherries and mango nectar 

ordinary afternoons never

ending. 

a six-mile run with my hair down 

a crisp cool on the nape of my neck 

the headlines read: 

record high temperatures in March

women’s tennis to take the Ivy League title

new chocolate shortbread at the coffee shop on campus

maybe we would have finally made it out 

to Bushwick, gone thrifting

or bought tickets to that knicks game

maybe I would’ve finally asked

out the guy reading bell hooks at the coffee shop

how many more times

would we have scarfed 

down our regular falafel cart orders

or sat editing each other’s papers

under Butler’s ominous lights, 

moon-cast shadows 

dancing around us in circles.

something about the old English architecture

and the ivy cascading across the walls

made you feel a part of something 

much bigger.

a few final firsts and 

infinite lasts 

last all-nighter &

last night out

last levain cookie &

last mel’s milkshake 

last midnight dance party & 

last midtown dinner 

tassels would have been moved &

tears shed

until we meet again. 

Author Bio

Guneet Kaur (she/her) is a Bay Area born & raised, Punjab-rooted, and Los Angeles based medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She recently graduated with her Masters in Narrative Medicine from Columbia where she explored the liberatory powers of storytelling in healing work. Guneet has a strong background in community-grounded work, particularly mental health, chronic condition management, and reproductive healthcare in first generation, immigrant, and QTPOC+ communities. As a medical student, Guneet looks forward to exploring the roles of narrative and interdisciplinary creation in dreaming intersectional, inclusive, and justice-oriented futures invested in the health and liberation of all people. In the words of Octavia E. Butler, Guneet is “positively obsessed” with being outdoors and in the sun, running and working out, fresh mint chutney, hiking off trails, beaching, creating art in community, Jamila Woods, and plants!

Tags

#borders #pandemic #community

Image Credits

Courtesy of the author.