She riffles through an oversized Life, one hand positioning the magazine in her lap as the other turns the pages. She gazes quickly at photographs of Jackie K and Lady Bird, lingering over Liz Taylor’s, and especially, Marilyn Monroe’s.
Her red nails appear festive, cheerful. Her hands, freckled and summer-brown, seem capable of anything: shoveling wintered-over garden dirt, stitching fine embroidery. At night, they feel gentle, firm as they smooth Vicks VapoRub across the girl’s chest up and down, then in the low light, the mother taps to the beat of her husky voice: better, better, much better by morning.
sized-up for swelling
the initials we share