My aunt lived in the tallest building
in Paducah on the nineteenth floor
of public housing, curtains drawn,
hands wrung, mind strung
like a string just before it snaps

On her table a youthful shot
of her in thin dress and thick
Kelly hair and when I touched
the edge of the frame I thought
it must be someone else’s soul

And though I was mistaken
she lapsed from her body,
so alive and eager in the photo,
after Pearl Harbor, when voices
colored her dreams with gunmetal

El-low-weeze  they would say
El-low-weeze, Eat-your-peas