Snow flanks the street, shoveled in piles higher than my head. It was the winter
of lost gloves and ear infections, of iced-over porch parties, of long-johns.
I lived with four girls. In the photo, my nails are Pepto pink, and the girls gather
around me, faces blurry in the frame. I remember the smell of their perfume—
Jo Malone, Chloe, Marc Jacobs—and the lime-basil scent of liquid soap
I stole handfuls of in our shared shower. That was happiness. We kissed
the lips of cold bottles, or we kissed each other. We slept curled against
one another in the dark. Late at night, death introduced itself, casually at first,
like a slant of light under the bedroom door. Lydia stood in the snow,
heaving drifts off the windshield of her car. Francesca taped a wood-cut print
to my window. When they hauled her off to rehab, I drew a house on a hill,
thin and haunted. Adele was the first to get sober. I don’t blame her
for not coming back. I tried living anywhere after that. Still, when I close
my eyes, I see snow. Piles of silvery clothes. I hear the clink of the beaded
curtains, the low whisper of voices at night, calling from room to room.