The well-meaning say that the dead are still here, living on in our hearts, and during certain gullible moments I believe them. I imagine my mother in one of her handmade dresses sitting down on the purple rim of my heart, kicking up her feet like a schoolgirl. Maybe I am even becoming one of the well-meaning, falling into hope, metamorphosing into that plucky optimist who has always annoyed me. Maybe I’ll be the smiling girl in pink lipstick and sweet perfume, the first one to lean toward you the Monday after you’ve buried someone you can’t live without to whisper in your ear, She’s with you still, just listen. I have touched my dead mother in dreams — her plump shoulder against my own. She tells me how to live, assures me the blue couch was a good choice. Still, listening is not enough, and there are steps she will not take without two feet. I want my mother to step out of my heart, to propel herself off from my ribs and out of my skin. I want her to take up space and air in my car, smooth her dress with both palms, adjust her legs in the passenger seat. At dinner I want to nudge her thigh under the table when she embarrasses me in front of someone new. Tonight I’m mashing potatoes for my love, understanding that it is his body I’m cooking for — his belly and lips and tongue, his fingertips and knees, the scent of his neck, each salty inch of skin. It is his body I miss when later, after too much red wine, he bends away from me, wanting only to pee, swinging one leg over the bed, and how quickly I miss that one leg, then the other, then all of him.