She mistrusts me now, with good reason. I took her smallest one and when I brought her back it was only to say goodbye. She moves the surviving ones to the back corner of the closet where they are surrounded by the fragrance of girls’ Sunday dresses, sashes the vines and tangles of a forest we can only see through the window. She shuns the crass plastic takeaway boxes for the Formica bowls we bought in South Korea before you were born, before you were the little ones stashed in the closet for safety. I wish more things were just metaphorical thought experiments and fewer things were laced with grief and its outsider ways.
I understand when she lets me feed her and when she growls be careful, lady, I am done with white man’s justice.
“Don’t worry, Girl,” I tell her. “No white men here anymore.”