A Hope Chest of Light Keeping


When I think about you, I imagine you wearing yellow and how the sun catches your hair red-gold.

I imagine a space that is so white it is blinding, and sunlight dripping lace patterns onto hardwood floors; places for you to dance around.

Your dress is linen. It may be cream. It may be purple. All I know is it spins around you happily, tea length and soft as a Sunday afternoon.

When I think about you, I see color. I see the absence of color around you.
As though you had a light turned on inside you, and you burn so bright from the inside that everything around you pales.
That is what love is sometimes, a burning.

I pulled a box down today. It was brown.
It was packed tight from the spring, as season of so much vibrancy.
It was duct-taped in grief.
I cannot remember if it was my hands or my sister’s who did the wrapping.
There came a time when I could no longer pack myself away; she took over.
That is what love is sometimes, a packing.

I cannot remember the details of those things that have passed from last year till now.
I cannot remember how I made it from one day into the next.
I can, though, remember your handwriting.
And your voice on the phone.
And the consistent care and thoughtful words.
Like a cool wash cloth on a fevered brow. Or a drink of water from giving hands. Or the moon’s shadow casting on everything the serenity of rest in shades of blue.
That is what love is sometimes, a coloring.

Sisters are born of blood, it is true.
Sometimes, though, they are born of fire.
From the flames, and the tears that do nothing to soothe it, comes a soft hand
who can write the letters
and dial the numbers
and do the packing.
And, suddenly, so far since then-
I am realizing: this is what love is sometimes.

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