At your mother’s

Your mother kept the thermostat down
ignoring January, his crowbar at work
on bedroom windows blankets couldn’t cover.
Summertime, she turned the knob to bake bed bugs
dry, their orange shells wrapped in white sheets
we scratched on until sun broke
and threw down to the basement.
We never visited in spring,
only in times of harshest weather,
suitcases with zippers begging to be opened
tossed into the trunk of her stuttering car,
heat set to the fattest red line while we talked
about how cold it has been,
how much colder it will be
when we close the front door behind us,
expecting spirits in our breath.