I remember Pauline Miller. Before she moved,
She lived in an understated, light green, box of house
on Raldoph Avenue.
She lived there for a long time.
One day a wide, green smear appeared on the side
of her fat, white Cadillac,
And the next month my mom helped her liquidate
the contents of her understated, green
Box of a house
(because it was no longer a home.)
I remember Pauline Miller’s 100th birthday party.
They served peach ice cream. The walls were almost the same shade of green as her house. The celebration was almost as understated as her house.
One day I looked at the sprawling, wily forsythia
that lived outside my bedroom window
and realized its roots were so much longer than mine, but certainly not longer than Pauline’s
(because my house was no longer my home.)
I remember my 18th birthday party.
They served Hennessey with Red Bull.
The sky was as heavy with rain as it was on the day I was born. The celebration
Was almost as understated as the dorm I’d move into four months later.
miles away from her home and her Cadillac
Pauline Miller must’ve felt a similar way.
Because on her 18th birthday, she too,
must’ve looked up at the sky
liquor on her breath
and grit her teeth for what must come
(never knowing that fate would one day afford her the victory of another 82 years, the familiarity of green, and the mellow taste of peach ice cream.)