They are all smoking in the kitchen.
Everything here smells like smoke; i smell like smoke after just a few hours of it. Aunt Rosie is in a house dress and high heels. She doesn’t wear underwear. Rosie is almost eighty, but i still picture her waking up in the morning and climbing out of her Barbie box. She girlishly flattens her dress, green with blue cornflowers, against her thighs with the flats of her palms as a breeze comes through the open door.
Aunt Mildred is in a dusky lime-colored sweatsuit. She forgot to pack her hearing aid, and leans in almost imperceptibly every time i speak.
I wonder to myself where they all learned to react to death. Rosie wants to rub her feet to keep them warm. My mother wanders in, shell-shocked and with so many more wrinkles than i remember from a month ago. She opens the window and smiles wanly at me.
“We does this at the hospital,” she says.” “To let the spirit out.”