Our aunt stands at the curio cabinet, a stone in her chest.
Winter casts shadows on the boy caught in porcelain
lines of innocence. His fishing rod, his dog. She adores
the tip-toe dancer in a blue translucent skirt.
Sun brought dust to light this morning, cast sheen
on glass shelves, bestowed haloes. Winter’s gift.
Fading, it left our aunt a portrait of sorrow,
every movement a lament. Not for love lost irretrievably,
a friend who’s moved, a family member slipped away.
She touches with such unplanned melancholy the Lladro
figurine, carvings she bargained for in Italy, glass from Bavaria.
Evening light glanced from the Arno where she stood
halfway across the Ponte Vecchio. She was young.
The cabinet she bid for at an antique auction sale must go.
Our aunt must go into an EPH. A stripping down,
down-scaling. Stove and fridge, one window
facing north, a narrow bed. Knees, hips turned traitor,
heart erratic, ears unwilling to allow sound into the brain.
Tonight we’ll coax our aunt onto the empty balcony.
Take these binoculars, we’ll shout, and watch earth move
between the sun and moon. A shadow thrown over cold craters,
the remote Sea of Tranquility. Where you’d expect full darkness
look there’s light: a canopy above the balcony. A rose glow.
The over-shadowed moon still visible. Venus bright.
The brittle stars unveiled.
EPH: Elderly Person's Housing
Published online July 01 2004.