My mom’s sister died of a disease she could have
prevented. Grief is soft like silt, but we don’t talk about it.
Death was such a sensory experience: spittle that smelled
of sage; skin that sagged like a translator’s second speech.
We don’t talk about it. Only crickets attended the funeral,
shedding their papier-mâché socks. We sweep, but don’t talk about it.
My mom cradles the black crow of her guilt
under her damp armpit, but we don’t talk about it.
I want to know more about the ghost: how blue her face;
which room she haunts the longest; is her dress
made of willow or lace? But I don’t ask about it.
It’s only ever autumn these days: mums blooming
from the cupboards, the way the rain tastes sour
and thin like apple skins. I know my mom
should release the crow outside before it makes a nest
of our throw pillows, but we don’t talk about the feathers
out loud or to each other. Glass feels like a trap now.
Every reflection a test: in a family of three,
which women are we? My mom must want
to carve messages in this mess of granite
countertops and casseroles. You could’ve been
a much better daughter to me, Emily, but we don’t talk.