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In the photo they put on her grave
she wears a shell pendant, and you
feel the ocean behind her, the wind.
I remember her in many occasions,
but especially twice. Once, not yet
ten years old, she was sketching
skinny girls by the dozen, pale, home-
made Modiglianis. She will become
an artist, she said with childish fervor
I’d give anything to preserve. It was
dusk. She sat at a wicker table, and a
nearby persimmon tree painted the
lawn with colorful splashes. She
had already started to go blind.

Twenty years down the line, in
another garden. Her sis’ wedding, and
liquor flew. An aunt said she should change
into a fancier dress. I had a
spare one with shoulder straps, ruby
red. I helped her wear it in the bathroom.
Shyly excited, she teetered outside.
Someone handed her a glass, sat her
down. Only then, her hands groping
her bare thighs, she realized how short
the skirt was, and she blushed. She
begged for her old clothes. But you
look divine, someone sighed. She
blushed a bit more.

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