“When I came down from the attic” by Sasha on her couch

Monday, April 16, 2018
10:03pm
5 minutes
The Portrait
Stanley Kunitz

When I came down from the attic Elizabeth was crying. Mama was in her room with the door locked. Jimmy wasn’t home from his job at the gas station.

“Elizabeth,” I said, “Let’s go have a slice of pie.” Snotty-nosed, and tear stained, I picked her up and we went downstairs.

Because the kitchen is right below Mama’s room, we could hear her clamouring around, slamming drawers, and slurring words.

“Why’s Mama shouting?” Elizabeth asked, lower lip quivering.

“She’s just tired, sweetheart,” I said, trying to forget the photographs I’d seen, trying to forget the feeling of the silk of the wedding dress against my skin.

“Why were you up there for so long?” Elizabeth was eating the pie now, right out of the pie plate, and so was a bit calmer.