There was a muff. It was white, milky white.
Was it mine or someone else’s? I don’t
remember. I was so small at the time,
I don’t know if I would have understood
the difference. It was white, whiter, softer
than anything else I’d ever touched. It
was made of rabbit fur, and just my size.
I remember sitting on the front steps,
in my yellow summer shorts, stroking it,
tucking my hands inside it, resting it
on my bare, pale, scrawny, little-girl thighs.
I think it must have belonged to someone,
because I remember I wanted it,
wanted to hide it away. It might be
the first thing I recall really wanting,
aside from my mother’s attention.
Was it even real? I’ve no idea
what happened to it, or even if I
ever saw it again after that day.
It was so very long ago. Mimi
wanted a warm muff when she was so cold,
but that wasn’t summer. It was the last
thing she wanted, aside from love. The last
thing my mother wanted, other than to
tell us she loved us all very much, was
a milkshake. She’d asked for my cherry jam,
but then forgot about it, and what she
actually had was that milkshake, saying,
“Oh, that was so good!” Then she smiled, and slept,
like Mimi slept, her hand fallen from the muff.