My Aunt Patty

Kanuch Photos_0044

An old bear stuffed in a cardboard box

that my mother can’t bring herself to get rid of.

She’s trying to block the ache of something missing.

Her mind clenched around memories of you

playing with the chickens in the yard,

writing illegible scribbles on a chalkboard,

of the sound of your laughter.

How different would it be now,

if fever and the bright red constellations

of measles hadn’t taken you away.