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Serena Alagappan

The Body Keeps the Score

The rock drags itself—no it is tugged, by

the wind and the softening winter pond,

a bowl depressing like a suncup, wound

wider than it is deep. The rocks that chart


brushstrokes in sand are designed to leave their

mark, the veins in deserts won’t be wiped clean

by the joy of any far-off splashing.

There’s no threat here, no slosh or stupor. It’s


dry. Stick a fist in the earth and find dust

on your palms. Pray what you can’t remember

away. Thin floating ice panels break up

on sunny days. Then the stones catapult—


slowly—up to five meters per minute,

they plod on. Sometimes the paths in the sand

slog, non-linear like ribbons of salt-

water on a flushed face, like healing or

forgetting. Tell the rock to stop. (It won’t).

Headshot_Alagappan - Serena Alagappan.heic



Serena Alagappan is currently studying World Literatures in English at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and working as Poetry Editor for the Mays Anthology. Her poems have appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, the Colorado Review, West Trade Review, and elsewhere.

Bear Review


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