Some Things You Can Ask Me

by Rita Ciresi

After I left the nursing home, I sat in my Lexus in the parking lot.  It was hot.  It was June.  My parents would have been married sixty years today.

Dad was long gone.  But I’d left Mom slumped in her wheelchair in her room, her eyes glazed over behind her thick glasses, her white bulbous sneakers dead weight on the footrests.  She no longer spoke, which was a blessing considering what she kept repeating before: Do I live here?  Do I live here? Do I live here?

I pulled out my phone to call my husband and let him know how the visit had gone.  But I kept my thumb on the power button for half a second too long, and Siri called out in her chipper voice, Here are some things you can ask me! Who is near me? How far away is the moon? Should I bring an umbrella?  How windy is it out there? Tell my husband I’m on my way.

Rita Ciresi is author of the novels Bring Back My Body to MePink Slip, Blue Italian, and Remind Me Again Why I Married You, and three award-winning story collections, Second WifeSometimes I Dream in Italian, and Mother Rocket. She is professor of English at the University of South Florida and fiction editor of 2 Bridges Review. Visit her website at