Challah Bread 10/2

I drive back to Texas in July and find my mother’s hair is blue.
At breakfast she tells me it’s a rinse, to make her newly-silvered hair look less
yellow. We walk her big black and blonde dog named Red and try

not to fight today. Since my brother’s death, we have been
speaking so softly to each other. In the fall,
she mails me homemade breads. They come frozen inside

giant Ziploc bags, dated like letters. I wonder what words she is trying
to braid into her loaves. Over the phone all she says is she is knitting a scarf
for my sister’s boyfriend to wear with his jean jacket. We don’t talk about

my brother, or ever mention the morning of the funeral when she overhead
me, arguing with my stepfather, say She is the reason I don’t live
in Texas anymore. I have never told her that

I meant it. Instead we text about a TV doctor drama she loves
and the new publicist she hired at the firm. In letters, I draw
tropical birds and fold them around bars of lavender soap. I know that

I am so much better at loving her this way. At the post office,
one year and one day since he died, there is a new package, rosemary
and sea salt challah. Frozen, no note, love from afar.