"Before and After" by Heidi Seaborn

_Heidi Seaborn Before and After.jpg

Before and After

for Jyamjung Bhote Sherpa Salaka, after the April 25, 2015, Ghorka earthquake in Nepal

Sunrise slivers through ice. Trail carved from snow and rock. Cold thin breaths swallowed like yak dung smoke, sweat of men sleeping head-to-toe in the kitchen. As we left Leboche, we knew to follow you. Footmarks in dust, mud, snow. We climbed Everest’s high valleys. Now you guide us by motorbike past hand-tilled Newari farms, into Kathmandu’s dusty hive, beneath stone temples breathing pigeons, filmy young men gathered on steps, down an earthen alley, through metal gates, upstairs to your home. Chere steams momos, stirs dal baht, your children carve fragile smiles.


Beneath Himalayas
plum-robed monks
bury prayer bird-less skies


heidi seaborn

Heidi Seaborn is the author of the award-winning debut book of poetry, Give a Girl Chaos (see what she can do), C&R Press / Mastodon Books, March 2019. She is the Editorial Director for The Adroit Journal and a New York University MFA candidate. Since Heidi started writing in 2016, she’s won or been shortlisted for nearly two dozen awards, including the International Rita Dove Award in Poetry, and published in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Penn Review, Nimrod, a chapbook, and a political pamphlet. She graduated from Stanford University and is on the board of Tupelo Press.

Headshot: Rosanne Olson

Photo Credit: Staff