Estella Rose

I am five years old, living with my family in the basement of my grandparents’ farmhouse. Estella Rose peels a peach with a steak knife. She sees shadows and blurs. I wait at the threshold of the front door, a silhouette.

“Is that you?” she asks. I do not answer. I am afraid of the mouse carcasses in the window wells. I am afraid of the black widows in the cellar. Juice runs between her fingers.

This is before the amputations. She will tell me her feet itch, and I will pull back the blanket and scratch at the mattress. She will call me by my mother’s name and tell me she loves me.



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