In my father’s fancy house, still largely foreign, I creep into the kitchen. It is just after two in the morning.
My mother is barefoot, standing on the granite countertop. Her toes grip the edge, like talons on a balance beam.
I rub my eyes, swallowing a yawn. The ice maker stirs.
What are you doing here?
The small light above the cafe table flickers wildly. Does she approve of his decor choices?
Wide eyes looks out at me, glowing. Her back body is rigid and erect, cushioned by cabinetry. Spare threads of her nightgown flutter about, though the air is still.
I live here now.
Appall washes over me. I do not feel sorry for her gaunt frame or atrophied ankles.
Since she died, I’ve rearranged my loyalties.
I step forward.
Haven’t you seen the garage?
17 two-liter diet coke bottles line its perimeter, lacing my father’s pickup truck in fizzling carcinogens.
Haven’t you peered into that pathetic refrigerator?
slices of cheese are situated next to leftover pizza.
Can’t the dead go grocery shopping?