Mary understood her house in the same way that cartographers mapped the world and astronomers charted the heavens before the invention of planes or space shuttles or telescopes. Somehow they knew the handprints of the countries on the oceans. Somehow they charted the night sky’s freckles.
A wooden rolling pin pulled out wide swathes of Kruschiki dough on the kitchen table in the days before Easter. The dusty smell of flour hung in the air, and a film of white powdered windowsills and cereal boxes. Shiny egg yolks bubbled in silver bowls, and drips of vanilla dried into tacky oilslicks on the floor. Sticks of butter wrapped in waxed paper lost their sharp corners as they warmed on the counter. Mary’s fingertips were silky from working the dough. Her babcia rolled it out, and the white fat on her upper arms swung in loose curtains as she worked the dough with the heavy pin. Mary caught flashes of babcia’s silver bridgework winking when she pulled her lips back in a wide laugh. They cut the dough in long strips with a heavy butter knife and scored a slit in the strips. Slipping the dough’s tail through the slit, they made knots. ‘Angel wings,’ babcia smiled. She fluttered the two ends of dough and flour puffed in small clouds. The dough tore, and babcia laughed.