The Aunt vanished one autumn. Left the house,
the children, the Uncle with his twitching beard.
If I wanted her, I searched in photographs:
the Aunt, sublime in a Pucci wedding dress
and intellectual glasses; elephantine
in blue maternity; at a birthday party,
balloon in hand, trapped behind a beam
of winter light.
The Aunt could also be,
less accurately, remembered: bent to light
a cigarette, her thumb hammering a clipper,
over and over.
A year ago, the Aunt
stood ahead of me in a queue for visas
at the Indian Embassy, beside the woman
the family hated. My heart in mouth, I called
and called her name, until she turned and gave
a tiny secret wave, then turned away,
and didn’t turn again.