Anne Hensley


The nieces in their sundresses wrapped casseroles, licking grease and starch from their knuckles and digging through coagulate cheese for cubed potatoes when they thought no one was watching and shoving them into their mouths before anyone saw, and Jen, with fevered babe chewing her breast and moist toddler clawing her calf, asked her mother, "What was it about him that made you know you loved him, at the beginning, that made you know he was the one?" 

The last of the mourners were still gathering themselves and each other and their Sunday coats and their phones, placing hands on each other's backs and looping arms through crooks and gripping the peeling wrought iron rail heading up the terrazzo stairs from the mildewed basement social hall to the crumbling sanctuary above where they would say goodbyes and then hug and then talk more and then make promises they did not intend to keep.

Diane felt her daughter's eyes and need, made as if to scratch a rib but subtly slipped a thumb between red ridge flesh and rubber girdle lip and felt her skin gasp, wanted to say, "He knew the exact amount of finger, pulse, and pressure inserted into me to bring me to orgasm every time. Sometimes I looked at those decisive hands and felt lightning in my vagina." 

But instead she said, "He was attentive. And generous. And so, so kind."