She was sick and nowhere to go, Mother said. So
she came to us, her brother's home. Most of her days
she sat in her room, looking out the door at us, little kids
in our room looking at her thin face, with wry smile, for
hugs were not allowed; only hello and blown kiss.
Wearing her shame, like a thick, bruised skin,
the possibility of spreading the disease to the loved ones,
she wished her days were brief; she would wait for the day
she could rest, beneath the snow of the backyard mound.
After she had gone, Mother came down with the aunt's
breath and fever; worried for us; blamed the aunt's gift that
would bring the doom home; we all were wrapped in her shadow.
To this day, we siblings have been free of the aunt's
feverish breath; wish it would stay that way, like the days
of the vanished wind. Aunt's ghost smiles like the olden days,
when she could play with us kids.
©Byung A. Fallgren