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,"
"Mom," I said, hearing an imitation of myself, battered by
longstanding solitude. "What," I said. The sound of me, dim and
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.