There we were, the younger four,
at the time,
trudging behind you through thick snow
falling and fallen
with coats and mittens and boots all too big or too small,
Through the gaps in hats and scarves and such,
such young skin,
not dry or oily, just youth
and red from winter.
after pressing angels in ground
or building snowmen
or falling distant into trees down the road-
I’m not sure, any more, which it was,
I watched the way
you made hot chocolate:
milk in a pot brought to steam over the stove,
warm, but not hot enough to burn,
and when warm
stirring the chocolate slowly.
Your mother must have taught you this.
I had never seen it done that way-
mugs set in the microwave until hot
and a packet, each,
of cocoa mix
quickly whisked in.
You, the oldest of cousins,
must have made a few dollars
to spend the day with us,
us- four and five and six and seven
years younger than you.
I realize this now,
it didn’t feel that way then.
I imagine in Januarys, you-
not as a cousin or sibling,
but as a mother, now,
steaming milk in pots on the stove,
your daughter sitting on counter ,
her legs dangling over the edge