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.