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A Candle for R.B.

Someone I care about died. I lit a candle for their soul transition and placed it on my kitchen windowsill, then stood washing pots and watching the flame. The toe heater blowing under the cabinet made me feel warm and safe. The sink full of dishes kept me tethered to ordinary tasks in the day-to-day. It was a beeswax candle, it's scent filled my head with the intimacies bees conduct between flower petals and the wind, as if the gentle breath from their wings might lend a traveling soul some lift. And because his childhood had been African I placed the candle on a small wooden box my husband brought home from Zimbabwe and flanked it with egg cups from there too, shaped like a lion and a hippopotamus. Leaning in deeper to a pot to scrub hard at the bottom, my hands lost in the soap foam, I felt for a moment like my transitioning cousin leaned in with me. A kiss for the top of my head as he passed, a wink from the doorway, a wave from the end of the road. And gone. The candle burned into the night. I let it's wax drip everywhere, a labor of love for another ordinary day.

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