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The Bottom Drawer

Amanda Auchter

Tucked beneath my mother’s shirts
and camisoles, a paper bag
of prayer cards, I find

my brother’s pajamas. I want
to take them out, understand
how she can spend an afternoon

in an empty house with them. Her
at the table with a cup of tea,
raising the sleeve to her cheek,

her nose, thinking of him, how
she kissed his stubbled cheek, closed
each eyelid. I wonder if she wears them,

or how often, if at night she slips
into bed with the shirt, cradles him
back into her. I unfold them

on the bed for her to find, spread out
as though he was still there, brushing

his teeth, water running in the bathroom,
a blue towel shook dry. Each arm uncrossed

and flattened, the flannel pants draped
over the bed as though someone meant

to wear them, but chose something else instead.