The young girl entered.
Moody, she blamed her sister.
The old aunt looked at her
and saw a troubled reflection
stare back from thirty years.
Why was she stopped from coming around?
Was her mother afraid?
Did she not understand
how well she and her niece related?
Like relations should.
The young girl looked about
at a room tired, frayed and cluttered.
Her politeness continued to thread itself
between the stitching needles.
The old aunt heard in the silence
clacking messages deeper than a child
from another time.
A tapestry of contrasts took shape in the dusk:
lone, hunched figures spot lit
under sinking pools of brightening yellow.
The young girl glanced at the clock restively.
The old aunt saw a time when she baked more
than brown gingerbread men as Christmas presents.
And knew, somehow, the young girl had also caked.
Knew, oh knew, she understood, understood.
The task completed; the young girl coyly realized
it was time for tea. A distant bell tolled
and through the front door she escaped,
her presence blown away in a gust.
The old aunt sat silently,
and smiled sadly to herself.
Why did the gingerbread men
always have to run away and leave behind
only crumbs in the gathering gloom?