“Final Exam\Fall 2018” by Hananah Zaheer

Painting by Anna Rac.

Q:        What is decomposition? Use examples to illustrate your answer.

A:        Decomposition            is simple                                                         

            AB → A + B

It’s a change of direction a reconstruction of atoms         see         heat breaks down bonds or
you break down in a grocery store aisle         to enter rot you attach to pieces          love is no longer a drop of water      Hydrogen and Oxygen separately can’t reason       the two can’t breathe                  not together not alone either         it tastes a little like ache            like closing
the gates no more customers today
on the page it looks like this:

                        H2O→ H2 + O

Break               open an apple for example slice its heart slice again your unpracticed hands destroy it easy like a cake you never learned to bake like the jasmine that fell too soon grief wants to grow branches              parasites attaching to blood no one can see deep in the earth dripping from the ceiling making you dead cold in ways you didn’t even imagine                    it is a reaction         people say compose yourself and by that they mean dig up your bones     
cover that grief with dirt not          six        feet      under   but             two because decay happens so much easier in the shallow or perhaps think of it like this: in the shelves of a grocery store there are many things dying a pack of bagels for example meant for a family of four a smoothie never bought                                        a man holding his wife while the ambulances arrives molecules shift shapes when heated the same                 two look different when holding on differently                          like Hydrogen Peroxide

                2 H2O2 → 2 H2O + O2

two shelves over from the floor where she fell the same bottle they emptied in the aisle take my answer say it was a whole a promise and then something dispersed what I mean to say is
                 everything decomposes
                 even people
                 even words

Hananah Zaheer is a fiction editor for Four Way Review. Her recent work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review where it won the Lawrence Foundation Literary prize for 2017, Alaska Quarterly Review, Gargoyle, Moon City Review, Westview and Willow Review, among others. She received a 2016 Pushcart nomination from Moon City Review and has been awarded fellowships by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) and Rivendell Writers’ Colony.

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