Back in the 40s she pursed her lips. When the on-air light lit up, she whistled to the troops. Sounded like an angel. She does it now and you think a bird’s in the house. Memories bellow from her antique instrument. Her body never stops to breathe.

When you call her dress a moo-moo she corrects you and says it’s a caftan. Calls your words insulting and says you should be ashamed of yourself. You claim you didn’t know, but you know. She tells you that witches always know what people are thinking, so you shouldn’t even try to lie. Some of your people were burned at the stake, she tells you. Some went up in flames wearing emerald dresses.

In her wake is a ghostly slipstream. You pretend to be allergic and sneeze into your Niners tee. You listen for the sound of her slippers across the living room floor, across the kitchen linoleum where she finds you standing in the dark hallway, your eyes bigger than a secret. She promises to give you a first-rate thrashing and you wish she would. You really do. But she never makes good. Never raises her hand. And that hurts more than anything.


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