Cleaning out the Exhaust Vent
By Annie Neugebauer
We didn’t know if we should laugh or cry
when baby powder fell instead of dust—
sifted like the softest snow from the sky
and floated through the room to blanket us
in memories and smells just scarcely dead
of how, for him, the powder was a must.
You lowered the canned air from overhead
to cough out puffs of white—and I did too—
then ruffled your hair, looked at me and said
“It’s baby powder,” and almost on cue
a salty, misty film filled up our eyes
like goggles, even as our smiles grew,
and through all of the heartache and surprise,
we didn’t know if we should laugh or cry.