Velvet By Barbara Buckley Ristine Cleaning the attic today, I opened the box marked Christmas and I thought of you, mother. Reaching in, I felt velvet caress my fingers. An evening bag of midnight black, adorned with a broken rhinestone clasp, a small moth hole eaten at the edge. Inside, the faintest scent of Shalimar. I buried my nose in the cool silk lining to breathe in the memory of your face with those wintery dark eyes and that scarlet lipstick, the one you only wore to parties. Your diamond earrings, made of glass, would twinkle in the light as you rummaged in this velvet bag, searching for your golden compact. You checked your makeup, your hand touching that tight twist of coal black hair, making certain no curls escaped. That mass of dark curls the chemo Tore from you even as it failed To tear the cancer from your breast. And here you are again, with me in this dusty attic, frowning your displeasure. You mocked me, said I was nothing, no child, no husband. At the end, you barely spoke, but your words found their mark.