So, she asked, my 87-year-old aunt, the one who all the other aunts and uncles called silly. Why did the baby die? She asked of my cousin's baby, who had indeed died. Was the mother too old?
I don't think so, I said, not wanting to get into other people's bodies, especially the dead bodies, especially the mourning bodies, and resisting the urge to tell her it was none of her business, none of her silly-aunty business. Most new mothers in Italy are around that age. I think the baby was just born too early.
Yes, but, said silly aunty, and then a little silence. My baby's heart wasn't working properly when she was born, she continued eventually. She died after a week.
I gave her a bottle, and she was too tired, you know. To drink. Pause. She died before I could go home with her. Anna Maria. Such a pretty baby too.
When was that, aunty?
After S_. Anna Maria was the youngest one. The last one. Pause. We had a little funeral.