You used to sit here, on this very step.
Smoking a pack a day and hiding away
In a beautiful house too big for just one.
Lips stained red from wine
And life clouded black from grief.
A small light peeked through the clouds,
But it was quickly swallowed up,
Just like everything else.
Everything started to lose its colour,
Just like you.
Paper skin, glass bones, and cobweb hairs.
But you kept smiling, even through it all.
“Don’t worry,” you said.
“I’m gettin’ through it, one day at a time.”
You switched to electronic cigarettes and juice.
Paper became marble, bones to steel, hair to silk.
The light came back, and each day the black clouds
Turned more to white.
You fell asleep; happy and content for a change.
But you never woke up.
I sit on the step now, by myself.
The familiar smell of smoke is slowly fading,
And I can’t seem to remember the colour of your eyes,
Or the pallor of your skin.
But I do remember the raspy voice and genuine smiles
As you tell me
“Keep on goin’, kiddo, ‘cause it gets better. I’ll always be there for you.”
In memory of my Aunt Nancy, who died this past May.
RIP, love always.