Her dress was drab, a dull brown
that blended in with everything, the bark
of the trees, the walnut paneling on the wall, so most
of the time she didn’t stand out, not the way
her sister does with her sunny yellows and passionate pinks.
But today, her chestnut, russet and umber hues held the light
just enough that you were aware
of her when she was in the room.
We sat there together at the kitchen table, hoping
that if we did something normal, like share
a cup of tea, we might feel like our usual selves. Her stare
was ghostly, like she’d left her spirit on the other side
of the lake during our early morning walk. Her ‘smile’,
well you couldn’t really call it that; it was a dash
at the bottom of her face; not like punctuation, more like a cut,
maybe even a gash, the kind you get when you aren’t paying attention
and slice into your skin near your fingernail.
She said she was ravenous for silence and solitude. If
she could only devour enough of it, she’d get her energy
back, her body would start working again, the way it used to,
before. So she stood up somewhat unsteady and left
for the stillness and sanctuary of bed and covered herself
up, slowly with the edge of the quilt balled in her hand and pulling it
all the way around and over her head.