Two years have passed or more,

after visiting a bed-ridden friend

who chose to die at home,

the stench of her body

so strong, accentuated by

the electric blanket.

That November, she talked about

seventh generation circus performers

and their angst while I listened,

thinking it was the morphine speaking.

"Too much angst" in her son's opinion,

frazzled, he sat on a flowered loveseat,

never really recovered from Vietnam.

He, who graduated from Caltech, thinks

you must pay extra to watch YouTube,

is obsessed with Peanuts comics

and the details of Charles Schulz's life.

He paces while I listen to the minutiae

as his mother lays dozing and dying.

She wakes and wants a beer,

so we all have one, except

the Jamaican health aide

who softly hums and sings about Jesus.

I toast this woman I admired and loved

for her Southern Baptist growl

and hell bent for leather attitude,

dozing and dying, minute by minute.

Her mind still sharp but her body is failing,

underneath unwashed hair and parched lips,

she keeps asking if anyone else is cold.

Maybe it was not a Friday night when

I held her thin, dying hands and

kissed her old forehead for the final time,

pink and purple nightgowns, folded,

a gift from someone who didn't know

those were colors she hated, unlike

bright yellow and orange Halloween candy

in a small bowl with two months of dust

and cat paw prints on the toilet seat,

in her bathroom where

the tissue box was empty.

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