The snow falls thickly around the eaves of the Halstead House,
tucking in tight the people snug inside.
your voice is warm with frayed edges,
Especially when you laugh.
Smoke hangs thickly above the green plastic card table,
Your strong hands folded over your belly as we play another round of cards.
You tell stories about when you were a boy:
back when going for a drive was something special,
back when candy only cost this much but no one could afford it,
back when air conditioning was only for the infirm.
You tell wonderful stories:
My cheeks are tight and sore
though it’s only eight o’clock
but it’ll be hours yet before I climb up the stairs
and under a clever crocheted bedcover.
you flirt with Grammy.
You whisper something and pinch her arm and she says
“Oh, Dex,” and laughs, her slick lips curving around a cigarette
that in my mind she never quit.
Her voice is full of ashes and
when she presses a lip mark to your cheek
cherry-red and sticky,
You wear her kiss like a badge, grinning.
“My mom always tells me that you and I would have been best friends,” I offer.
My throat feels tight with subtext.
I wonder if you hear it.
I scuff my shoes on the linoleum.
“Well, kid,” you say and ruffle my hair,
( I don’t know why but you always call me kid)
“You never can tell, with these things.”