Sympathy Flowers, 2013

She gives her hand, lace cuffs and a wedding bouquet of pale lavender orchids, she gets out of the car, shaken, her sense of style is welcoming, she will not break her family apart, she gets out of the car, a broken light, a broken heart. At the lake, in her orange bathing suit, she wants me to know her as a child, I can see my reflection, stars on the water, I step in and suddenly understand what separation means. Being perfectly prepared to breathe no longer is a lesson we thought we’d never learn, the pleasure of returning books, the breadth of a bedspread, joke cartoons cut out of a newspaper, a bowl of walnuts. Every day I sit where she always sat in our home, she could see the similarities from here, how we accept and nurture our limitations; her father painted trompe l’oeil tiles on the walls their bathroom because he couldn’t afford them. She says, “Don’t let go of the paintings.” If a life of illusions makes it easier to bear, then I’m all in. "Luck be a lady tonight."

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