was a drunk, lived in a house rented from her sister, three bedrooms, two baths, a Kelvinator in the kitchen you could stash a body in, a Gaffers & Sattler with burners that glowed like hot chrysanthemums. I spent summers there. Unpredictability spread through the air like crabgrass over a lawn. The wind under the Maple floated leaf-boats in the gutter. I liked those long rivers of murky silence, holding the garden hose, the copper nozzle feeding the length of it, running my fingers alongside the curb, writing my name, watching it disappear in the heat. How you could look at something that’s gone and see it still there, the history of it. I admired my Aunt’s style, the slippage of her blouse, watching her breasts heave back and forth, a sack of tongues licking the inside of her bra. How when she popped open beer cans they sounded like ripped silk. I’d collect the pull tabs, wear them on my fingers. At night, I’d swim with them through the dark. I loved her the way a child loves seeing the moon for the first time through a window’s cold palm, or a mother’s face, loose with uncertainty. I loved how my Aunt didn’t give a crap what the neighbors thought as she bent over to pick up the morning paper. Mind your own goddamn business she’d hiss, ass to the street, legs dimpled, the ghost ship tissue of her slip sailing out from under her house dress like the fringe you see on valentines. There were days she would sit without moving, and only the sunlight meeting her eyes through the screen door, and the voices of the children in the street that rose like the voices of her childhood, of mine. In high school I’d learned the ocean wasn’t blue, that its color was created by reflection, by something outside of it. I wondered if years of loss reflected itself on the body, the way it did on hers, if an empty heart made you colorless. Sometimes she would hurl pots and pans across the kitchen. Sometimes the gas light went out and the whole house smelled of something about to happen. Sometimes the oven caught fire and smoke billowed from the kitchen the color of old photographs. One night I thought it would be funny to hide my Aunt’s last six pack of beer and make a guzzling sound like a garbage disposal. I loved the sweet cruelty of it, the game I made to un-silence her silence, the years of it, the knife that shook in her hands, that broke the light and all the color she had. Now I go to visit her in the hospital and sneak in a can of beer when the nurses aren’t looking. I slip it under her pillow and hold her hand and tell her that I love her, that I’ve loved her all my life. I fix her lipstick. I comb her hair. I pull her up by the shoulders so that she can sit up on the bed and look out the window and the window can look back.