My great aunt, who once spent all day at museums, now watches us
as we go about our living. Shouts at me, from the old arm chair,
“you’re so renaissance!” as I pass by, brushing my long red hair. Studies
my father as he assembles a bookshelf, and after a while, says
“look at your hands—true carpenter’s hands.” Then, she goes
to find my mother who is working in her office, the desk pushed up against
a picture window. “So much light!” she says, “It’s like a Vermeer world
in here.” And, at the end of the day, all of us gathered around the table,
the leftovers laid out, she exclaims “What a composition!” as if
it were a Dutch still life, a commentary on transience and mortality,
the yellow roses at the center of the table slightly wilted, the lamp light bouncing
off the chipped glasses and scoffed silverware as if to suggest, there is no end to loss—
but really, it’s just some chicken and a little bit of broth, just a Monday night when everyone
wants to be done—hands grabbing for meat, then, chairs scratching the wooden floor as we
all leave—except for my aunt, who sits there for a long time, her face falling in the dark.
Photo used under CC.