The History of Pink Glass When I Hold It
Meg Tuite

My mom shrunk minute by minute for months framed inside a hospital bed in our trailer while she watched the snow melt and the trees and bushes fill out in colors. Then flies were everywhere, and the air-conditioner rumbled from the window and then stopped rumbling, and layers of leaves blustered around outside while blankets increased inside. It all transpired from the window next to the iron-railed hospital bed the agency had set up when Mom couldn't get out of bed anymore. She watched rain drip through a fat, cedar tree and a breeze shake the branches or not shake the branches in a program that was much more painful to watch than anything else.
I was in the other room when I heard the glass shatter. I was beyond exhausted. It was a shameful and smooth tired. I detached myself from the island of television.
My mom was a detraction of herself. Her bald head. Her vagrant arm, veined and bruised was thrust out, a criminal waiting to make the score. She held on to the mutilated remains of one of her pink antique glasses. Her eyes were animate and exotic in their vehemence. "Don't," she whispered.
"Mom," I said, hearing an imitation of myself, battered by longstanding solitude. "What," I said. The sound of me, dim and faraway.
Her tongue licked at her parched lips craning for moisture. "No," she said. Her gray skin was breathing now.
"Don't," I said. "Not on my watch. You can't do this. Not now."
The pink remains of the splintered glass threatened to obliterate and engulf us. The affluent superiority of this object was a monarch that strained against my mother's skin.
My mom's gaping mouth, a receptacle now for morphine and ice-chips, rank with the stench of death, hissed as she held the last word against her wrist.
I grabbed the pieces of pink glass from her shaky hand. I could feel the heartbeat in that ancient glass.