last night, at 2 am,
i was going through my dressing table
looking for something to
soothe my shaved legs with
when i found a bottle
of your favorite talcum powder—
the one that smelled like jasmine, sakura, and freshly bathed babies.
how you loved patting it all over your face until it made you look like a clown,
how i knew that you were there
the moment its powdery floral scent
hit my nostrils
and you would greet me with the excited
smile of an elderly woman
convinced that her dead mother
is alive and waiting for her outside.
i remember the three small packs of biscuits that you innocently gave me as a “christmas gift” last year not knowing that it would be our last.
the foldable umbrellas you would take with you everywhere—rain or shine.
the piggyback rides on the way home from school back when i was four, just because you wanted to.
grief is a bottle of talcum powder long past its expiration date that still brings back memories of the scent it used to have.
i stare at the white plastic bottle. its twistable pink cap. the dark blue text against its white label.
and in the 2 am silence of my room,
i wait for God to tell me
that you’re up there laughing
with a basket of freshly
picked flowers in your hands,
that a life lost is not ashes to the ground.
but i hear nothing—and the enormity of it swallows me whole for the first time.
Gabrielle Marie Felio is a BS Psychology graduate who finds solace in embracing the rawness of life through literature.