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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Renee Owen

Bird Legs

Auntie M, one of my favorites, plops downs on the edge of a lumpy brown settee, a cigarette dangling from her ringless fingers. "Ahhh, my favorite little Bird Legs," she calls out to me, laughing. No one else in the family besides me looks pleased. Not even a hint of a smile. Sitting next to her, Auntie M's soon-to-be-ex husband looks sad. After almost a lifetime together, she's leaving him. Across town in their new apartment, her bosom buddy, another nurse at the hospital, waits.

moonless night
a faint stain
in the old mug

Aunt Stella, eyes downcast, whispers to my mother. Something vibrates inside me, an electric hum pulsing beneath the quiet. Under the fine veneer of dust on the barely used parlor furniture, under the wisps of blue smoke floating in a circle of light. Under Auntie M's pills and the supposed heart attack, under the stream of hot water from her last shower.

late winter
leaving the door ajar
for sunbeams