I decide to make a May altar on top of the dresser, beneath the mirror, in the room I share with my sister. We don’t have a garden because my mother doesn’t have the time, what with five messy children and the stuff she does for the church and my father, but we have bushes that blossom, blood red azalea and lilac dripping purple.
I cut branches from the inside of the plant where no one will notice. I find a peanut butter jar in the trash; it takes forever to wash clean. I find an old torn slip of my mother’s in the bottom of the “poor bag” in the basement and carefully cut the lace from its hem. I take white candles from the junk drawer in the kitchen. Birthday candles. But we are done with birthdays until August.
My sister doesn’t question me when she comes up from watching cartoons. “That’s pretty,” she says. She likes everything I do. That’s why it is my job to protect her.
He has been taking a nap but suddenly we hear his roar. “What in blazes is this crap?”
There’s a place in my stomach that falls into the place where I pee, and that happens now.
My sister looks at me with animal eyes. I realize she must have left a mess of dolls or coloring books in the living room. We hear something crash, a shoe against a wall, maybe. My sister reaches for my hand, and I pull her to kneel with me before the bursting colors of our May altar.
Potentially, might be ...