Her name was Hermione,
she lived in the apartment above
us in the lower east side.

On rainy Saturdays I was left in her
care. She'd ply me with almond pie
she bought at "Earthmatters" on Ludlow
because she said. "It does."

I used to watch as she tweezed
the dark hairs from her upper lip,
wincing at each small death.

Her eyesight was already failing
so she'd sit by the tall window
where the light was strongest.

We could hear the cars pass
below, tires hissing on the wet road
and, when they stopped at a red,
the slap and slide dance of the
windshield dancing wipers.

At four, when my older sister
collected me we descended
the wide stairs vigorously wiping
the lipstick kisses from our cheeks.

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