who asked him to tell her stories before the candles’ snuffing, to read old poems or sing new songs meant only for her ears. He plumbed his genes for ancestral mountains and forgotten seas, his memories for the plains that spread from one to the other. Later, in the glow of their hearts and the dark of the night, she slept smiling in his arms as he kissed her three times on her forehead. Some mornings, she embellished his words with responses pictured in their wake. Now he rises from dreams of them to feel her phantom weight on their bed, hear her whisper in her sleep, and wonders what ghosts dream of.