The Bottom Drawer


Amanda Auchter

 

Tucked beneath my mother's shirts

and camisoles, a paper bag

of prayer cards, I find

 

my brother's pajamas.  I want

to take them out, understand

how she can spend an afternoon

 

in an empty house with them.  Her

at the table with a cup of tea,

raising the sleeve to her cheek,

 

her nose, thinking of him, how

she kissed his stubbled cheek, closed

each eyelid.  I wonder if she wears them,

 

or how often, if at night she slips

into bed with the shirt, cradles him

back into her.  I unfold them

 

on the bed for her to find, spread out

as though he was still there, brushing

 

his teeth, water running in the bathroom,

a blue towel shook dry.  Each arm uncrossed

 

and flattened, the flannel pants draped

over the bed as though someone meant                                                   

to wear them, but chose something else instead.